Electric scooters have hit the streets of Ottawa for a pilot program. The devices are back in the nation’s capital for a third year, with a few changes to the program.
Two suppliers, Bird Canada and Neuron Mobility, will supply the scooters this year.
“It’s sustainable, it’s zero emissions, and you’re helping to reduce our carbon footprint,” said Isaac Ransom of Neuron Mobility, one of the scooter suppliers.
Neuron scooters were launched in select Ottawa neighborhoods on Wednesday. The City of Ottawa says Bird scooters will be phased into service next week.
The e-scooter program, now in its third year, includes new restrictions on drivers and companies operating electric scooters, as well as modifications to the scooters themselves.
Electric scooters will have to emit a continuous sound while in operation so people can hear them approaching, and apps must only allow drivers to end rides in a designated parking area. Scooters are also prohibited on the sidewalks and must only be driven on the streets at less than 50 km/h. The city says new technologies and penalties have been implemented to deter curb driving and improperly parked electric scooters.
“If an e-scooter is improperly parked, the driver will continue to pay a fee until it is properly parked or picked up by the supplier. Suppliers have also implemented fines and will remove users from their app who do not obey local rules, including sidewalk traffic and improper parking,” the city said.
“You will be able to see in your app where you can park in the city,” Ransom said. “You will have to park in a designated parking area and what will happen is when you want to finish your ride, you will return it to a designated parking area.”
Abandoned scooters around Ottawa were one of the issues raised during public consultations after last year’s season. Rideau-Vanier County Mathieu Fleury says the city will work with scooter companies to make sure the rules are followed.
“If you see an abandoned unit in a location that’s not appropriate, call 311,” Fluery said. “The company will have 15 minutes to move the unit and if not, the city will tow it. There is a fine for this.
The launch of this year’s electric scooters has been delayed due to the changes.
There will also be 300 fewer scooters compared to last year, with a fleet of 900.
The 2022 season is allowed to run until November 15, 2022, weather permitting.