Decision details

E-Scooter Trial Extension

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


Extension of the E-Scooter trial following advice from the Department for Transport to extend the current trial


(i)  To approve the renewal of the Vehicle Special Order (VSO) for Southampton’s rental e-scooter trial until 31 May 2026, in accordance with the DfT's new end date for its national trials. To delegate authority to the Executive Director Place, following consultation with the Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport and Section 15 officer, to amend further e-scooter trial end dates if changes are made to the DfT national trial.

(ii)  To approve Southampton City Council participating in a Solent Transport led procurement to select a sole micromobility operator from summer 2024 onwards.

(iii)  To delegate authority to the Executive Director for Place, following consultation with the Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport and Section 151 officer, to implement the rental e-scooter trial within the parameters established by the VSO and the DfT, and for Southampton City Council to enter into an operating contract with the highest scoring tenderer identified through the procurement.

Reasons for the decision:

1.  To facilitate the ongoing collection of e-scooter data and information that will inform national legislation for e-scooters and support the ongoing independent data validation.

2.  The trial to date has demonstrated there is a demand for a rental e-scooter service in Southampton with over 82,000 users having collectively made over 1.5 million trips, between March 2021 and October 2023.

3.  To understand how new innovations from the Future Transport Zone programme will interact with the e-scooter service, for example the Mobility-as-a-Service app (Breeze), and to continue to refine the service to improve uptake, safety and efficiency.

4.  Bike share ridership in Southampton is below the levels required to sustain a commercially viable operation. Moving to a sole micromobility operator model will provide flexibility and economies of scale for the chosen supplier and will improve opportunities for commercial viability in the medium term. 

Alternative options considered:

That Southampton City Council withdraws from the rental e-scooter trials at the end of the current trial on 31 May 2024.This was rejected as the current trial has proved popular with users, is demonstrating mode shift from private vehicles, delivering air quality outcomes, and collecting data which is useful for informing future government transport policy.


To extend the e-scooter and bike share operating contracts of the current operators. This was rejected on the basis that revenue from bike share is not sufficient to offset operational costs. The extent of the losses being incurred by the operator indicate that a ‘do nothing’ approach is likely to result in the operator exiting the scheme at the end of the initial contract term on 31 June 2024.


Make a direct contract award for the sole provision of micromobility to either of the incumbent operators in Southampton. Whilst this is permissible through the Bike Share and Micromobility Services Framework, it would not allow for market testing and a demonstration of best value.

Report author: Wade Holmes

Publication date: 16/01/2024

Date of decision: 16/01/2024

Decided at meeting: 16/01/2024 - Cabinet

Effective from: 25/01/2024

Accompanying Documents: