Bird e-scooters took flight just south of the capital city Friday morning as Edmonton worked to finalize which fleets will be approved to hit the streets later this month.
Rental scooters in Leduc will be capped at 15 kilometers per hour and must be returned to specific, GPS-designated parking areas. That was decided after clutter complaints, and some injuries, in other cities.
“Hey, the meter ticks until you get your scooter back in an appropriate parking spot,” said Leduc City Councilor Glen Finstad.
“We are very excited to join the city, another market in Alberta,” said Chadi Abou Hachem with Bird Canada. But when asked about the big city: “Uh…can’t talk much about it.”
Bird’s rollout in Edmonton is uncertain this season, as the city works through its procurement process with fewer approved vendors and scooters allowed on the streets.
Two companies will be chosen and the number of licenses will be capped at 1,500. Last year there were three vendors, Bird, Lime and Spin, with a total of 4,000 scooters initially approved.
“I’m not really sure what problem restricting fleet size is trying to solve,” said Coun. Andrew Knack on Friday.
He thinks Edmonton is meddling too much and points to cities like Leduc that are addressing parking and sidewalk-safety issues with existing technology.
“In my ideal world, we’re fixing those two core problems, and then letting the market decide everything else,” Knack explained.
If you’re looking for a scooter this weekend, local company YEG SCOOT is the only game in town. Their business falls under a different category, because they have to be picked up at, and returned to, one location.
“I mean, obviously, being the only scooter in town right now is great, but our focus is for sure going to be guided tours,” explained Hidar Elmais.
With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Jeremy Thompson