Parsons Green scooter

UK: Most train operators are to ban the transport of e-scooters, e-unicycles, e-skateboards and hoverboards, because of concerns about the fire risk from overheating lithium-ion batteries.

Electric mobility scooters, electric wheelchairs and e-bikes will still be permitted on trains, as there are legal minimum standards regulating their design and construction.

ScotRail said ‘unregulated lithium-ion battery micro devices do not adhere to any technical safety standards’, and so there is an increased risk of fire when a battery is damaged, overcharged, overheated or has a manufacturing defect. Cells can quickly become unstable, resulting in fire or explosion.

Greater Anglia said ‘e-scooters have battery packs which vary greatly in quality’, while Southeastern said the batteries are vulnerable to damage which could result in a fire ’given the unregulated manufacture of many e-scooters available for purchase online’.

Bans are coming in on June 1 on Govia Thameslink Railway, Greater Anglia, ScotRail, Southeastern and South Western Railway, and are already in place at Avanti West Coast, Caledonian Sleeper, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, GWR, Hull Trains, LNER, Lumo, Merseyrail, Northern, TransPennine Express, Transport for Wales Rail and West Midlands Trains.

c2c told Rail Business UK that it does not have a ban on e-scooters and does not currently have any plans to bring in a ban.

On 2021 Transport for London banned e-scooters from its services, including Elizabeth Line and Overground trains, after e-scooters caught fire at Stanmore and Parsons Green on the London Underground. The Tyne & Wear Metro followed with its own ban.

Southeastern’s Head of Safety & Environment Steve Lewis said ’although the likelihood of a fire incident is low, the risk of fire from e-scooters is much higher than other modes of transport, because of their design. Because it’s impossible for our colleagues at stations and onboard our trains to check whether an e-scooter is safe or not, we have to think of everyone’s safety, and so we can’t allow them on our trains. It’s just not a risk we’re prepared to take.

’What’s more, privately owned e-scooters aren’t currently legal for use on UK highways, so we’d encourage our customers to make use of the secure cycle hubs and facilities at our stations.’

SWR said people will not be permitted to charge the devices on its stations or trains, and they will not be accepted as lost property.

ScotRail said it would review its ban in 12 months’ time, once more data becomes available on the safe transport of the vehicles or once any legislation comes into effect.