E-scooters are to be banned from the Tyne and Wear Metro and Shields Ferry from Monday, 13 December, operator Nexus announced today.
The ban is being introduced following incidents in the London area, which has led Transport for London to review e-scooter use and introduce a similar restriction.
There have been a number of incidents of privately-owned e-scooters and e-unicycles catching fire on public transport services and stations in London.
A review by Transport for London found that the incidents that occurred were caused by defective lithium-ion batteries which ruptured without warning. This led to fires that caused toxic smoke to be released, which could be a significant risk in enclosed areas.
Privately owned e-scooters remain illegal to use in public spaces but are widely available for purchase. Private e-scooters and e-unicycles are currently unregulated, meaning they are not currently required to meet any minimum vehicle standards.
Huw Lewis, Customer Services Director for Nexus, said: “We are banning the use of e-scooters on Metro and the Shields Ferry as a safety precaution, following a similar ban introduced by transport for London.
“Not many people take e-scooters on public transport at the moment, but it is important we are clear about this restriction for the safety of everyone. Our customer service teams and ferry crew will advise customers of the ban and refuse travel where they need to.”
There are currently e-scooter rental trials taking place in Newcastle and Sunderland. Scheme operators have stressed that rental scooters have more robust safety features than most on general sale, but they are not at present widely carried on Metro and Nexus is including them in the ban for clarity and as an additional precaution.
Nexus will work alongside Transport for London and other transport authorities to review any future changes to legislation by the Government regarding e-scooters and e-unicycles, specifically around safety standards, using data from local and national trials.
Non-folding manual scooters may be carried on Metro in those areas and at those times where standard bicycles are permitted – currently between 10:30am and 3pm and again after 7pm on weekdays, and all day at weekends. Standard bicycles and non-folding manual scooters should not be carried through the city centre stations of Newcastle and Gateshead.
Folding manual scooters may be carried at all times on Metro. All types of manual scooter may be carried on the Shields Ferry.
E-bikes, which are generally subject to better manufacturing standards with batteries positioned in a place where they are less likely to be damaged, will continue to be permitted on Metro and the Shields Ferry.