Edmontonians will have to wait a little longer for the return of electric scooters this year.
E-scooters, which hit city streets in mid-March last year, have yet to appear in 2022 despite launching in several other communities across Alberta, including Calgary, Lethbridge, and Red Deer.
Three companies — Bird, Lime, and Spin — offered e-scooters in Edmonton in 2021 thanks to an open application process that awarded a license to any provider that met the city's operating criteria. This year, the city has introduced a competitive procurement process and is limiting the number of approved providers to two.
"Each year, we continue to learn and evolve the program to best support active travel options, while maintaining safe streets and sidewalks for all Edmontonians," Jessica Lamarre, the director of safe mobility & traffic operations at the City of Edmonton, said in a statement to Taproot.
The city is also limiting each approved provider to 750 e-scooters and, if available, 200 e-bikes. "This fleet size is based on what Edmontonians are generally most comfortable with and is consistent with fleet sizes with other Canadian cities that offer this program, including Calgary, Kelowna and Ottawa," Lamarre said.
Lime was licensed for 2,000 scooters in 2021, while Bird and Spin were licensed for 1,000 each.
E-scooter companies will be evaluated on a variety of criteria, including "proposed solutions to unsafe road use and parking issues." As in past years, providers will be required to educate riders about safe behaviours and to collect and share all service issues with the city.
Approved licenses will be issued for 20 months, up from the previous 12 months, to provide providers with "more certainty in how long they can operate and give them more room to plan based on customer needs."
The city anticipates issuing licenses by mid-May, with providers launching their fleets shortly thereafter.
Photo: E-scooters from Spin appeared on Edmonton streets on April 14, 2021. Riders will have to wait until at least mid-May in 2022. (Mack Male)