Strathmore Town Council is considering the viability of introducing e-scooters around town, as discussions began during the May 3 regular meeting of council.

Shared electric vehicle company, Bird Canada, presented to council during the meeting to discuss what the introduction of such scooters could look like, and the benefits it would have for the community. 

Michael Covato, Bird Canada’s director of government partnerships, said cleaner air – due to lack of carbon emissions, and ease of transportation for community members are among the benefits offered by the scooters, in addition to their local economic benefits. 

“We universally released a study two years ago that every single individual e-scooter contributes roughly $2,200 USD over a six-month period of additional spending to local businesses,” he said. “The popularity of these systems means they can be profitable without any kind of subsidy.”

The introduction of e-scooters to Strathmore would require no immediate monetary commitment, though Town of Strathmore CAO Kevin Scoble explained costs would be incurred more indirectly. 

Town staff and council would be required to pass traffic bylaw amendments and hold community engagement sessions, for example, in order to gauge community interest and work out logistics for introducing the scooters. 

Covato added he expects response times to complaints about scooters to be handled generally within 15 to 30 minutes, as travel around Strathmore does not tend to take long. The fleet initially, if passed, could see roughly 65 scooters around town to start, with an eventual capacity of between 110 and 130.

“We have operational staff and partners locally based who are proactively checking on every single device that is within the community multiple times per day. That ensures if there is an issue, oftentimes we can correct it before it presents a nuisance to the community,” he said. 

 “We have 24/7 contact information on every device so if for whatever reason between one of those checks if someone says ‘this scooter is knocked over, I don’t like where it is,’ they can report that to us and we will dispatch someone to go out there and correct that issue immediately.”

Bird e-scooters have an age restriction which may be decided upon by the town. During the presentation, it was recommended that the minimum use age be between 16 and 18 years of age. 

A typical ride may cost a user between $5 and $7, with discounts available for seniors, healthcare workers, veterans, and those who are under government assistance programs, among others. 

More information regarding the e-scooter discussion is available through the town meeting minutes via their website, or through the recorded council meeting posted publicly to their YouTube Channel.

By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on May 12, 2023 at 10:41

This item reprinted with permission from   Strathmore Times   Strathmore, Alberta
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