This is the e-scooter park outside Bow Road station. It's full of e-scooters, generally parked in the right place because we're fortunate enough to have a large paved area where they don't get in anybody's way. But it's also full of e-scooters because hardly anyone hires them. London's first trial has been underway for over a year but has never really taken off, to the extent that the average two-wheeled gizmo doesn't move for over 23 hours a day. The threecompetingcompanies must be throwing their money away.
Last time I was in Paris e-scooters were everywhere, and even other UK cities have had more success in encouraging use. But Londonershaven't taken them to their hearts and so they languish in their parks, and occasionally across the pavement (though thankfully not as obstructively as if they were really popular). Perhaps it's because the trial the authorities permitted is quite restrictive - omitting most boroughs, limiting potential parking spaces and enforcing localised speed limits. Perhaps they're simply too expensive, gobbling up your money at (roughly) £1 per ride plus 15p per minute. Perhaps it's because private e-scootering on roads still isn't legal so the public have never got on board. Or perhaps it's because hire bikes took off with a bang in London over a decade ago and e-scooters don't have a hope of catching up.
The current trial runs until November so there's still time for e-scootering to pick up, but I bet it doesn't. If it hasn't thrived during a period including Covid proximity restrictions, two summers and soaring petrol prices, what hope is there? It seems the authorities misjudged how to run things (or else cunningly devised a structure that was bound to fail in order to keep these deathtraps off the road, depending). You won't catch me on one, but the fact you won't catch anyone on one does feel like some kind of mis-stepped missed opportunity.