UK: Privately-owned e-scooters and e-unicycles will not be permitted on Transport for London services or premises from December 13, as a result of safety concerns following fires at Stanmore and Parsons Green on the London Underground network.

A review by TfL found that defective lithium-ion batteries had ruptured without warning, causing fires which produced toxic smoke with a significant risk of harm to customers and staff as well as risking injuries as people tried to escape.

‘We have been extremely worried by the recent incidents on our public transport services, which involved intense fires and considerable smoke and damage’, said Chief Safety, Health & Environment Officer Lilli Matson. ‘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.’

The National Federation of the Blind of the UK had called for a ban following the previous incidents, and Street Access Campaign Co-ordinator Sarah Gayton told Metro Report International the ‘common sense’ decision was ‘well overdue’ and she hoped other operators would bring in similar bans as a matter of urgency.

Similar views were expressed by the TSSA trade union, with Organising Director Lorraine Ward calling on the Secretary of State for Transport to implement a ban across the wider travel network ‘without delay’.

The ban does not include mobility scooters or foldable e-bikes, which TfL said are generally subject to better manufacturing standards with batteries positioned where they are less likely to be damaged. Non-foldable e-bikes will continue to be allowed on some parts of the network at certain times.

  • On December 10 transport authority Nexus announced a similar ban covering the Tyne & Wear Metro from December 13.