E-scooters return to Edmonton with fewer options

This time last year, electric scooters filled Edmonton’s core. But as Carly Robinson reports the city is still deciding which two companies will be allowed to operate this year.

By Carly Robinson

This time last year, electric scooters filled Edmonton’s core. But on top of a delay in their return this year, Edmontonians looking to hop on an e-scooter this summer will likely notice fewer options.

The city of Edmonton has changed the licensing process, saying they are using a ‘competitive procurement process’ to grant two companies the ability to have up to 750 electric scooters each. They expect the licenses to be given out by mid-May.

Edmonton’s director of safe mobility and traffic operations says this is a significant change from previous years, Jessica Lamarre saying the city sued to provide “an open application process that provided a licence to vendors that could meet operating criteria set by the City.”

In 2021, three companies offered e-scooters rentals in Edmonton: Bird, Lime and Spin. The season started off with up to 4,000 individual scooter licences, but by mid-summer concerns about cluttering, littering and scooters being used on sidewalks forced the city to cap the number of e-scooters to 1,500.

“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,” says Lamarre.


Edmonton could also see e-bikes this year, with the licences including the potential for 400 e-bikes.

The e-scooters can be polarizing for those living in the core of the city, as issues with unsafe road use and parking limit accessibility on sidewalks. Lamarre says these factors will be used to evaluate the companies bidding to bring micro-mobility back to Edmonton.

“Edmontonians have made it clear that safety is a priority on our streets,” Lamarre says this new bidding process has been helpful in working with the companies to identify potential solutions to citizens’ concerns.

This will be the fourth summer with e-scooters in Edmonton. While previous licences lasted 12 months, those awarded this May will last for 20-months, up until December 2023.

“This provides service providers more certainty in how long they can operate and give them more room to plan based on customer needs.” Says Lamarre.

Similar to bikes, e-scooters and e-bikes are not allowed on Edmonton sidewalks. The city however does allow them in bike lanes, shared paths, shared streets and parkland, as well as roads where the speed limit is 50 km/h or less.

Alberta does require helmets for anyone riding an electric bike, however, no regulations exist for electric scooters.

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