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E-scooter riders pay for flouting Tube ban

TfL banned private e-scooters from Tubes, trains, and buses in 2021 after one caught fire (Ross Lydall)
TfL banned private e-scooters from Tubes, trains, and buses in 2021 after one caught fire (Ross Lydall)

E-scooter owners caught breaking the ban on taking them on to London’s transport network have paid out more than £12,000 in fines and legal costs this year, after a fire safety crackdown.

Transport for London banned private e-scooters from Tubes, trains, and buses in 2021 after one caught fire and caused panic on a packed District line train at Parsons Green. The ban — backed by London Fire Brigade — extends across the Tube network, as well as all buses, Overground and tram services, and the Docklands Light Railway.

New court data analysed by the Evening Standard shows at least 27 people have been convicted by magistrates for flouting the ban since the start of 2023, with orders to pay £4,865 in fines and £7,656 in TfL prosecution costs and court fees.

In many cases, e-scooter riders were convicted and ordered to pay more than £500 each despite protesting that they were unaware of the ban.

Joanna Power, 36, was stopped at Gospel Oak station in February after taking her e-scooter on an evening rush-hour Overground service from her home in West Hampstead. “I didn’t know,” she replied, after being confronted by a TfL officer and accused of breaking the by-law. At court, she was ordered to pay a £220 fine, £250 in costs, and an £88 victim surcharge.

Hayley Cain, 40, from Waltham Cross in Hertfordshire, was similarly stopped by an officer at Vauxhall station in January. “Sorry, I didn’t know that,” she said, when told of the ban. She added: “It’s my form of commute.” She too was ordered to pay a £220 fine, £250 in costs, and an £88 victim surcharge.

Private e-scooters are banned from roads and public spaces in London.

TfL’s prosecution statements say it brought in the ban after fires involving an e-scooter and an e-unicycle. “These incidents prompted TfL to launch an urgent review… supported by evidence from London Fire Brigade experts.”

In March, the Standard reported how firefighters have been called out to more than 150 fires in a year caused by e-scooter and e-bike batteries overheating. There are fears of a major disaster if a fire broke out deep underground in central London.

Prosecutions are brought by TfL through the single justice procedure and penalties are imposed in behind-closed-door sessions.