E-Scooter Pilot Project Hits Windsor Streets

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Rubber has hit the road for Windsor's e-scooter pilot project.

Bird Canada launched the project with 150 scooters on Saturday and Company CEO Stewart Lyons says feedback has been positive so far

Windsor resident Ellio-Charbel Skaff hit the streets Sunday, and after going through the mandatory tutorial on safety, he says he had a blast.

"The breaks on them are amazing, it's safe to ride, fun, and it gets you from point A to point B," he says.

The 20 year old says it's a great way to get out of the house during the pandemic.

"Get outside, get a little bit of air, some exercise and get some Vitamin D from the sun," he says. "It's really a great addition to the city."

Lyons says some reasonable concerns have been raised about the spread of COVID-19 with multiple people using the scooters, but health officials have cleared their use.

The company cleans the scooters at every opportunity and Lyons says the chances of the virus surviving on outdoor surfaces are low.

"In Alberta they went as far as to actually map COVID-19 transmission with scooter use and there was no correlation whatsoever," he says.

A mobile app is used to register, locate and pay for a scooter. Skaff says the biggest challenge was getting to a scooter first.

"Everybody in the city is trying to grab one and you basically just have to look on the app and find some that are available," he says. "The only problem is you have to get there before someone else does."

Lyons tells AM800 News that availability won't be an issue after the company ramps up to 500 scooters.

"We never like to blanket a city all at once. There's an education process that we like to make sure that people follow," he says.

Images have already started surfacing on social media showing people allegedly trying to steal the scooters. Lyons says the scooters literally become useless if someone attempts to tamper with them and they're tracked.

"We'll knock on your door and say, 'can we please have our scooter back?' If the interaction is unpleasant then police take it from there," he says. "It's happened in every city and it usually wears off after the first few days when people realize they can't do it. Yes, it has happened in Windsor already and we've gotten police engaged."

Pricing for the e-scooters starts at $1.50 and costs 35 cents per minute for the duration of the ride, so Lyons says you can cover quite a bit of ground travelling 15-20 km/h at a reasonable cost.

A phone number can be found on the scooters if residents find one laying where it doesn't belong. Lyons says the company will address the issue within the hour.

More than 20 people have been hired for the program locally and the company will do more hiring as demand increases, according to Lyons.

Bird's mobile app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play.