Confirmation of the tough new rules – which will also apply across the TfL bus, DLR and Overground network – comes days after the Evening Standard revealed a ban was set to be introduced after two alarming incidents.
The first happened when an electric unicycle, which had been left on a Jubilee line train, spontaneously burst into flames in a TfL staff depot in Stanmore.
The second was when a District line train had to be evacuated at Parsons Green when the lithium battery on an e-scooter burst into flames and sent smoke billowing down the walk-through carriages.
TfL said on Thursday that passengers carrying e-scooters “will not be permitted to enter any premises on TfL’s network or travel on any of its services”.
A review found the fires had been caused by defective lithium-ion batteries which ruptured without warning, leading to toxic smoke being released. Batteries are thought to be at risk if re-powered with the wrong chargers.
TfL chiefs fear a disaster if this happened on a deep-level Tube, such as the Piccadilly or Northern lines, or on a bus.
“There could be significant harm to both customers and staff, as well as secondary injuries from customers trying to escape the area,” it said.
London firefighters have attended more than 50 fires involving e-scooters and e-bikes this year – double the total amount seen in 2020. Most of these have been in the home.
Passengers were able to escape unharmed at Parsons Green last month because they were able to walk through the District line train. Once the fire started it stopped at the next station and the e-scooter was thrown on to the platform.
Lilli Matson, TfL’s chief safety officer, said: “We have been extremely worried by the recent incidents on our public transport services, which involved intense fires and considerable smoke and damage.
“We have worked with London Fire Brigade to determine how we should deal with these devices and, following that review, we have decided to ban them.
“Customers who try to bring them onto our network will be refused access to our stations and premises, and not be permitted to use any of our services.”
The ban will include all e-scooters and e-unicycles, but does not include mobility scooters that are permitted on the network or foldable e-bikes.
Paul Jennings, London Fire Brigade assistant commissioner, said: “We have growing concerns about the safety of e-scooters due to the amount of fires we are seeing involving them, so we fully support TfL’s ban of private e-scooters on public transport.
“Fires are dangerous and terrifying wherever they happen, but a fire on the transport network has the potential to become very serious very quickly and involve hundreds of people, particularly on trains where evacuation may be challenging, so anything that can be done to mitigate that risk is a positive step.”
The brigade’s concerns mainly relate to faulty third-party batteries. Many of the incidents firefighters attend involve batteries which have been sourced on the internet and don’t meet safety standards.
Private e-scooters remain illegal to use on public roads.
British Transport Police Superintendent Lisa Garrett said: “We’ll be working alongside frontline staff to engage with the public on this issue, and enforce where necessary.”
TfL currently allows the powered scooters to be carried as luggage on the Underground if they are folded.