I received many emails from residents of Ottawa and Bay Ward about e-scooters. Most were in favour of continuing to allow this mode of transportation in Ottawa. Although, e-scooters are not allowed in Bay Ward, I support the continuation and expansion of the pilot project if enforcement is strengthened and effective.
Residents with site and mobility challenges have raised the issue that some riders leave their e-scooters on the sidewalk as an obstacle to pedestrian mobility and it sometimes takes too long to correct the issue. Enforcement has to be strict and effective.
On Wednesday, February 3rd, the City’s Transportation Committee approved piloting shared e-scooters once more, from as early as April through November, with at least double the number of scooters as last year deployed in a larger central area. Ottawa could see between 1,200 and 1,500 shared electric scooters rolling on streets and pathways starting this spring.
Up to 300 e-scooters could be used for a satellite pilot in a suburb. Operators could partner with a Ward Councillor, a business improvement area or a business association outside the Greenbelt to recommend a location.
To mitigate concerns about improper parking and users riding on sidewalks, operators would have to provide a way to report improperly parked e-scooters in the app, monitoring and moving them as needed, and warning or removing riders for parking violations. There would also be some designated parking areas, with operators providing incentives to park in them.
The City would select up to three operators through a competitive procurement process. Limiting the number of operators is expected to reduce sidewalk clutter, offer a more consistent and faster response to issues, improve rider education and reduce staff time managing the pilot.
Last year’s pilot saw 72,720 unique riders take more than 238,000 trips. Nearly half of riders who responded to the City’s survey about e-scooters said they drove less, and one third said they traveled less often as a passenger in a car. E-scooters also helped support local businesses, with nearly half of all trips starting or ending in a business improvement area, and around one third of survey respondents riding a scooter to a local business or restaurant.
Recommendations from the committee meeting requiring approval will rise to Council on Wednesday, February 10.