Scooters And One Wheels

Calgary might develop its e-scooter fleet to carry again the bicycle share

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Author of the article:

Jason Herring

Release date:

March 13, 2021 • • 1 hour ago • • Read for 3 minutes • • 6 comments An e-scooter rider passes a line of lime bikes in downtown Calgary on August 29, 2019. Photo by Azin Ghaffari /.Postmedia

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A Calgary city council is expected to consider a new strategy this week to entice businesses to bring bike sharing options back to the city.

A report to the Standing Political Committee on Transportation and Transit suggests that Calgary will allow companies to exceed set limits on the size of their electric scooter fleets when they run a city bike sharing program.

While e-scooters have launched in Calgary in recent years and the council recently approved their year-round return after a successful two-year pilot, bicycle stocks haven’t seen the same level of acceptance.

This is partly because bike sharing and e-bike programs are less profitable than e-scooters for private businesses. In addition to scooters, Lime brought e-bikes to Calgary in 2018 and 2019.

Although Limes motorcycles are not as popular as their scooters, 40,000 unique users and 168,000 trips were recorded, compared to 200,000 unique users in all of the city’s e-scooters. According to the city report, the bicycles had fewer 311 complaints than scooters.

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Calgary will approve two companies to bring e-scooters into town this spring or summer, which will be allowed to share 750 scooters. They might be allowed to bring in even more vehicles as long as they offer a bike share and address a handful of other parking and accessibility issues.

FILE – Andria Logan takes a ride as Lime announced the launch of their Lime-E electric bikes in Calgary during a press conference in downtown Olympic Plaza on Tuesday, October 30, 2018. Photo by Darren Makowichuk /.Postmedia

The idea is an example of “progressive thinking” by city officials, said Peter Spearing, president of Bike Calgary, and hopes city councils will agree with the idea.

“It is a means of transport, not only for recreation or sport, but also for benefit. It gives people an option other than scooters so that people who may not feel safe can hop on a scooter to get from A to B, ”Spearing said.

“Offering both solutions makes it financially viable for (e-scooter companies) without incurring costs for the taxpayer. I think everyone wins. “

There are currently bicycle-sharing programs in place in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal, with each city subsidizing their operation. This option is not available to Calgary as the council has decided not to spend public money on shared bikes.

The report said the city had hired bike rental companies, which signaled support for the proposal. A spokesman for Lime agreed, saying Calgary’s proposal was feasible.

“City officials have come up with a smart, proven approach to bring e-bike shares to Calgary clearly and at no cost to the city,” said Jonathan Hopkins, director of government relations at Lime.

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“This move provides residents with valuable transportation options that have cost other Canadian cities millions.”

Ward 4 Coun. Sean Chu, a longtime critic of Calgary’s bike infrastructure, said he supported the proposal “in principle” and said the $ 0 price was right for the city.

“I’m pro-business, any kind of business as long as the taxpayer doesn’t pay for it or subsidize it,” Chu said. “If the private sector does it, that’s good for them.”

However, Chu said he would have some questions for the city government about why the number of e-scooters allowed would increase if companies had already agreed to a reduced cap.

For Bike Calgary, which has a partnership with Lime where riders can round up the cost of their rides to support the local nonprofit, the proposal is an opportunity to introduce more Calgarians to cycling.

“There is also a shortage of bicycles. Bicycle shops are struggling to meet demand. This would give people an opportunity to try cycling from a leisure perspective that could lead them to buy a bike and use it more often, “Spearing said.

“There are a number of synergies there that help local businesses.”

The Council’s Transport Committee will receive the report from the city administration on Wednesday.

jherring@postmedia.com

Twitter: @ Jasonfherring

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