Transport for London bans electric scooters on travel network

Transport for London (TfL) has banned all privately-owned electric scooters and electric unicycles on London transport.

The ban comes in light of safety concerns about these modern modes of transport which have been linked to recent fires on TfL services.

On November 3, passengers disembarked the tube at Parsons Green station in west London after an e-scooter caught fire and burnt on the platform.

Organising director of the transport union, the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA), Lorraine Ward said: “Our union always puts the safety of our members and the travelling public first and foremost. It is good to see TfL agreeing with us and banning e-scooters across the London travel network.

“It was only a matter of time before people got badly hurt, or worse.”

She called on Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to implement the ban on the wider transport network as well as the TfL.

TfL’s Chief Safety, Health and Environment Officer Lilli Matson said: “We have been extremely worried by the recent incidents on our public transport services, which involved intense fires and considerable smoke and damage. We have worked with London Fire Brigade to determine how we should deal with these devices and, following that review, we have decided to ban them.

“Customers who try to bring them onto our network will be refused access to our stations and premises, and not be permitted to use any of our services.”

A safety review by TfL has found that electronic scooters are linked to faulty lithium-ion batteries which can rupture without warning and emit toxic smoke.

London Fire Brigade Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Paul Jennings said: “Fires are dangerous and terrifying wherever they happen, but a fire on the transport network has the potential to become very serious very quickly and involve hundreds of people, particularly on trains where evacuation may be challenging, so anything that can be done to mitigate that risk is a positive step.”

Currently, rental scooters are available for hired use on London roads while privately owned e-scooters are illegal to use in public spaces, but purchase of them is unregulated.

British Transport Police Superintendent Lisa Garrett said: “Our priority is the safety of passengers and the staff members working across Transport for London services. We’ll be working alongside frontline staff to engage with the public on this issue, and enforce where necessary.”

TfL, which runs transport services by tube, bus, Overground, TfL Rail, tram and DLR, will not be allowing customers to use the service if they are in possession of such electronic devices.

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