Shared electric scooters on the road in Santa Monica, California.
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Electric scooters are anticipated to hit the streets of Calgary as soon as early July with Bird Canada announcing it will be introducing its first arsenal of e-scooters.“The launch will be in Alberta because Alberta is very forward-thinking. … Both Calgary and Edmonton have been pushing hard for this and they’ll be the first to adopt the new technology, which is great for the province,” said Bird Canada CEO Stewart Lyons.John Bitove, co-founder of the Toronto Raptors, is backing the Canadian initiative, and Alberta’s two largest cities have been selected for the pilot because the province is the closest in the country to introducing e-scooter regulations in the Alberta Traffic Safety Act.Lyons is optimistic they’ll be approved to launch in time for the Calgary Stampede, which begins July 5, and shortly after in Edmonton. The initial launch will see about 500-1,000 e-scooters in each city, spaces in each city to charge and repair the scooters and approximately 50 full-time and part-time employees between both cities. They’ve already rented a space in Calgary, according to Lyons.He said the prices Bird Canada will offer are comparable to public transit as a short-distance transportation solution.
Bird scooters parked in Santa Monica, California. The company says the scooters are suitable for short distances, at four or five dollars a ride.
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“It’ll be four or five dollars for a short-distance ride. It will be $1.15 to unlock the scooter and then it’s 35 cents per minute thereafter,” said Lyons.The City of Calgary refused an interview request but the city’s shared mobility program manager, Nathan Carswell, said in a statement they recognize transportation is changing to include mode sharing.“The City of Calgary is working with the provincial government to look at enabling compliance, while also developing a permit system that would allow interested companies to apply for operations,” said Carswell in the statement.The city is also expected to consider where the electric scooters would be allowed to operate.California-based company Bird has fared well in Denver, Colorado and Minneapolis, which have smaller populations but endure similar seasonal conditions. Lyons says Bird’s scooters and technology can withstand a Canadian winter.“We will see a decline in ridership over the winter, which is to be expected, but we think on days when the ground is clear and there’s isn’t snow on the ground, we will get some good ridership,” said Lyons.“They’re effectively industrial grade, so they were designed to operate in cities like Calgary or anywhere else in Canada.”Lyons said he’s most excited that Bird Canada will be Canadian owned and operated after negotiating an exclusive licence to use Bird’s logo, technology and scooters.“It’s an easy, fun and enjoyable way to get around and Calgarians want that, as well as people in Edmonton. They’ve been buying e-scooters and ordering them online so this is filling a need and hopefully working with the regulators we can get people what they want quickly and efficiently,” said Lyons.email@example.comOn Twitter: @BabychStephanie