PHOTO: SUPPLIED BY ARGYLE PR

E-scooters are back in time for the summer, however the city has made changes to the companies providing these speedy modes of transport. 

Bird Canada and Neuron Mobility have been awarded a five-year contract to operate a maximum of 750 scooters each.

Over the past two years, people in Calgary took nearly two million trips around the downtown area on e-scooters. 

Despite its popularity, the e-scooter project saw issues with safety and how users interacted with them. 

Andrew Sedor, a transportation strategist with the city, said there were issues around parking, user behaviour and other safety concerns that were not met, which pushed officials to make some changes regarding how e-scooters will operate. 

With a higher emphasis on safety, the city sought e-scooter companies focused on keeping users safe. Neuron e-scooters are bigger and more robust, which the company says increases stability over other models, and they come with helmets.

“Neuron’s addition to Calgary’s e-scooter program provides a safety-first mobility option for Calgarians to get around,” said Coun. Evan Woolley in a statement released on May 27.

Neuron’s safety-first approach has been proven in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. 

“Safety is our top priority,” said Zachary Wang, CEO of Neuron Mobility. “It dictates our e-scooter design and the way we operate them.”

Calgarians won’t be seeing the bright green Lime scooters this summer. Despite their popularity during the pilot, following the bidding process they were not invited back. 

The city has said that if anyone has leftover credit with Lime, to contact the scooter company directly.

Calgary rollout

E-scooters launched on May 28, with plans for e-bikes launching later in the year. Riders must be 18, or older and will need to book e-scooters with each respective app. 

Both Bird and Neuron are in talks with the city to add e-bikes to the rollout. 

E-bikes had problems in the past, with Lime offering them in 2019 but not bringing them back in 2020, claiming they were unsustainable to operate within the city. 

Andrew Sedor said in a statement that if the companies want to increase their offerings with bikes, they will need to provide some other benefit to Calgarians besides transportation, such as jobs.

With the sunshine out this weekend, riders have already enjoyed some scooter action.

While current COVID-19 restrictions are in place, Neuron is giving eligible public health workers and emergency services staff free monthly passes. As well, Neuron is offering free morning commutes for riders between 5-9 a.m. for the first month of operation.