The government-approved rental e-scooter scheme in Slough will end on November 30 – with the local council suggesting that the scheme will be suspended until at least June next year.
Neuron Mobility has run trial e-scooters in the city since October 2020, with riders covering more than 630,000 miles to date.
The UK government recently gave approval for e-scooter trials to be extended until May 2024, past the point at which regulation is hoped to pass to fully legalise the use of the machines, leaving it to individual councils to make decisions on the future of their scheme.
But Slough Borough Council will halt its current trial and then evaluate the scheme before potentially awarding a new tender. In a statement the council noted Neuron’s contract had been extended several times, but added: “as the contract with Neuron was coming to an end, the council was unable to extend the contract without opening it up to tender”.
It added: “The transport team will be evaluating the scheme and providing a report to Cabinet in February 2023 with the possibility of restarting the scheme subject to procurement and Cabinet approval in June 2023.”
Councillor Mohammed Nazir, Slough Borough Council’s cabinet member for transport and the local environment, said: “This is a chance to pause and evaluate the trial, whilst we undertake more work and preparation for an expected DfT decision on permanent schemes once the national trials have completed.
“It has been great working with Neuron Mobility UK throughout this successful trial, and seeing our residents and commuters enjoy scooting around the borough. I look forward to seeing the transport team’s report at Cabinet early next year.”
Cormac Quinn, Neuron’s UK manager, said: “It is with regret that we confirm that Neuron’s rental e-scooter service in Slough is required to cease in Slough by 30 November.
“This decision is outside of our control as we were expecting Slough Borough Council to complete a new procurement process which would have allowed us to extend our service, however sadly they were unable to do this.”
Quinn noted that around 40 per cent of Neuron rides in Slough have replaced a car journey, which he said saved more than 65 tonnes of CO2. He added: “We would like to thank Slough Borough Council and our thousands of loyal riders for their continued trust and support over the course of the trial. We will be communicating fully to our riders, reimbursing any outstanding passes or credits.”
Neuron recently withdrew opted not to bid to renew its contract to run the e-scooter scheme in Sunderland, which has now been awarded to Zwings.
A spokesperson from Slough Borough Council said: “We have enjoyed working with Neuron over the last two years and would like to thank them for their efforts in introducing e-scooters to Slough and integrating this new form of travel in an innovative and sustainable manner. We appreciate that the service was very popular and hope they will take the opportunity to reapply when we commence a new procurement process in 2023.”
Neuron conducted research which suggested that two in three e-scooter journeys in Slough resulted in a purchase from a local business, with an average spent of £16.20 per trip – enough to inject £4.6 million into the town’s economy each year.