Expect to see more electric scooters on Montreal streets njow that a new e-scooter service has launched.
Much like Bixi, the new Lime e-scooters are now available for rent as part of a pilot project featured in three boroughs – Ville-Marie, Cote-des-Neiges-NDG, Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension – as well as the City of Westmount.
"It's a new form of mobility. It can be part of the cocktail of sustainable mobility," said Montreal Executive Committee member Eric Alan Caldwell.
Users have to be 18 years old, wear a helmet, and ride at a maximum 20 kilometres per hour.
Four scooters can be parked at a time, but just like Uber's electric Jump bikes, they're only supposed to be parked in designated areas.
"We have fines. There's a two-hour period where the operator has to remove the scooter if it's not well parked. If not, it will be fined. And we're collecting data on every scooter, every movement, every complaint at the city," said Caldwell. "The responsibility is on the operator. Lime has a responsibility so their users, their staff, make sure the bylaw is respected."
Montreal is far from the first city to have an e-scooter sharing program; they've already launched in Waterloo and Calgary.
The company bringing them to Montreal, called Lime, says it wants to provide an efficient and green mode of transport.
McGill geography professor Grant McKenzie, who has researched e-scooter sharing programs in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles, thinks the program will take time to catch on.
"We still see conflicts between cyclists and drivers and pedestrians, for that matter, so introducing a new mode of transportation, an electric-assist vehicle which is very different than a lot of what we've seen previously is actually going to shake things up a little bit," he said.
Users aren't always hopping on to get to the nearest form of public transit, said McKenzie.
"The goal of these – how they're sort of pitched to us as researchers – that these were meant to be the last-mile solution. So you take it to get to the metro or back from the metro home. But in actuality, we see people not necessarily tying them into the existing transportation system. They use them for short trips to go from home to the grocery store," he said.
The new service results in a loss of parking: In the Ville-Marie borough alone, 65 parking spaces will be gone.
The scooters cost $1 to unlock and 30 cents per minute.
The pilot project will run until November.