The self-service electric scooter companies, which quickly swept the bike lanes and sidewalks in the United States last year, are poised to storm the Canadian market.
This service, already highly controversial among our neighbors to the south, could cause headaches for municipal administrators and road users in major cities across the country.
Silicon Valley’s last smoking blow, the electric scooter was launched last year in California. It is a big hit with investors, and some of the companies that are promoting it are already worth billions of dollars, as the Globe and Mailexplains .
The two-wheeled vehicle can reach a speed of 24 km / h. It can be released anywhere and users can locate it through a GPS application. It costs approximately $ 1 to unlock a scooter and 15 cents per minute of use.
On the road, however, its use is problematic. Users are spinning along the sidewalks and bike lanes, dropping their scooters everywhere. Some cities, like San Francisco, Denver and Milwaukee, have even decided to ban service while waiting to find a way to regulate it.
Electric scooter companies have already started hiring processes in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto, and have begun negotiations with Canadian municipal officials to expand their service.
“It’s a matter of months before they are [electric scooters] deployed in Canada,” said Globe and Mail Euwyn Poon, a Vancouverite who founded the Spin electric scooter service in San Francisco.
Starting Monday, the City of Calgary will approve a two-year pilot project that will allow companies to deploy 10,000 self-service vehicles. Electric scooters will appear on the streets of Calgary in 2019.
The self-service scooter business model differs from the bike-sharing model. It does not rely on a public-private partnership or local government funding, but rather on funds from Silicon Valley investors and companies such as Uber. It has just invested $ 335 million US in the company of scooters Lime, which is already worth more than a billion dollars.
The huge popularity of the service in the United States has resulted in its rapid and somewhat chaotic development. Some companies have moved into cities without warning, forcing municipalities to regulate its use.