E-scooter pilot project launches in Distillery District
Chris Fox, CTV News Toronto
Published Thursday, September 5, 2019 8:08PM EDT
Dockless e-scooters, which have drawn controversy in some cities for being haphazardly left on sidewalks and pathways, are now available in Toronto.
Well, sort of.
Bird Canada has announced that it is launching a pilot project in the city’s Distillery District to test out the scooters, which are capable of travelling up to 48 kilometres on a single charge.
The e-scooters aren’t actually permitted on Ontario roads at the moment but because the Distillery District is privately owned the pilot project can go ahead.
“The response we’ve received following the launch of our Bird e-scooters in Calgary and Edmonton has been incredible,” Stewart Lyons, CEO of Bird Canada, said in a press release. “So, what better way to give those living in or visiting Canada’s largest city a taste of what is hopefully to come once e-scooters are approved for use in Toronto than to run a brief pilot in Canada’s premier arts, culture, and entertainment destination.”
Dockless e-scooters are similar to bike-share systems in that users can rent them for short periods of time but unlike Bike Share Toronto, whose bikes must be returned to a designated docking station, the e-scooters can be left anywhere.
That has led to some controversy in a number of cities, where residents have voiced concern about the scooters being strewn across narrow sidewalks and piled up outside businesses.
In June, Paris even went so far as to ban any e-scooter from being left on pavement following numerous complaints.
During the Toronto pilot project, riders will be prevented from leaving a designated area within the Distillery District by a virtual barrier known as a geofence.
The pilot project will run from Sept. 5-15 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends.
It remains unclear whether the e-scooters could be brought to Toronto on a more regular basis, though last week the province did announce plans for a five-year pilot project to allow them to operate on any road where bicycles are allowed.