Shared electric scooters (e-scooters) will be available for rent in Saskatoon by spring 2023. A two-year pilot will test the program framework developed through extensive public consultation. City Council approved the project this week where two vendors will operate up to 500 shared e-scooters from spring to fall each year.
“While many people are excited for new transportation options, others are concerned about safety for riders and pedestrians, enforcement and cost,” says Director of Transportation Jay Magus. “A pilot lets us evaluate if the rules in our framework can address these before committing to a permanent program.”
The benefit for Saskatoon residents and visitors is a fun, environmentally friendly solution to the first/last mile drawback of public transportation, creating better connectivity and increasing convenience. Fewer people driving personal vehicles can ultimately reduce congestion and GHG emissions associated with transportation.
Vendors will provide e-scooters with a center column and a floorboard; there is no seat, no operable pedals and they are not self-balancing. People will rent them through a mobile app to unlock them, then follow instructions for parking to return them.
“Many of the safety concerns can be addressed with technology,” says Magus. “Geofencing and sidewalk detection can limit the speed and location e-scooters can travel; and there are in-app incentives for wearing a helmet and proper parking.”
The framework for the pilot requires e-scooter renters to follow the Provincial regulations: riders must be 16 years or older, wear a helmet and are restricted to streets with a 50 km/h and lower speed limit and a maximum riding speed of 24 km/h.
The City plans to consider allowing private electric scooters in 2024 once we have conducted a year of this pilot program.
The full framework and summary of public engagement is available at saskatoon.ca/escooter.