City committee gives green light to e-scooter rental companies in Ottawa


Electric scooter-sharing services may arrive in the capital this summer after a city committee approved a one-year pilot program.

Two multinational companies – Bird and Lime, both of which operated in more than 100 markets around the world prior to COVID-19 – have expressed interest in setting up shop in Ottawa, according to a report tabled at Wednesday’s transportation committee meeting.

If the plan is approved by full council, the city would enter into non-exclusive contracts with these private operators that would see up to 600 e-scooters available for rent across Ottawa.

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The city sees e-scooters as a form of “micromobility” that would give residents an alternative to using their private vehicles or ride-hailing services such as Uber, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

E-scooters, which typically travel up to 24 km/h, are borrowed using a mobile app and must be parked in designated areas. City staff said they would mitigate the risk of improperly parked scooters, such as where they would be an obstacle on the sidewalk, in their contractual negotiations with private operators by, for example, requiring users to submit a photo of their e-scooter correctly parked to complete their ride.

E-scooters would not be allowed on sidewalks, OC Transpo vehicles or National Capital Commission pathways or in Gatineau.

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