If you’ve been Jonesing to hit Calgary streets aboard an escooter this spring, you’ll get the chance starting Friday.
The city had postponed the spring launch of its escooter program due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They announced Thursday that escooters are allowed back on city streets May 22.
There is still some concern over health and safety as the scooters are used by many people each day. That’s what’s prompted the measured approach in Calgary.
“These are shared devices. They are high touch so, someone will have touched it before you,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi at a Thursday coronavirus briefing.
“They are not sanitized between users. So you’re taking a risk, and you need to mitigate that risk. You have to use hand sanitizer on your hands.”
The first month be on a trial basis and each company will provide 150 scooters. That’s far fewer than the hundreds on city streets last year.
Mayor Nenshi said they’re undecided if they will continue with a graduated approach moving forward or if it will be opened up when things are deemed safe.
The companies will also be testing out new safety guidelines to reduce risk to users.
When the pilot project was reviewed in December, changes were made to rules and some of the fines.
Bird ‘very excited to be back serving Calgarians’
Alex Petre, Western general manager at Bird said they have been working with Alberta Health Services and are happy to be back.
“We are very excited to be back providing service to Calgarians, we know everyone has been stuck inside for some time so we hope this is going to be a nice activity for them,” said Petre.
Safety is a concern for some and Bird is reminding people to take precautions when out and about.
“Every rider is made aware that the shared scooter is not cleaned after every use. That means that we are recommending each rider to wash their hands with soap, or sanitizer,” said Petre.
“We do believe that Birds are built for one, which means that they are intrinsically following physical distancing rules.”
Jonathon Hopkins, government affairs for Lime said, micromobility will be important in city recoveries.
“We’re excited to get back on the streets of Calgary and provide a safe, socially distant transportation option at a time when residents need it most,” he said.
“As cities begin to emerge from this crisis, we know that micromobility will be critical in helping people get to where they need to go and allowing local economies to recover more quickly.”
Hopkins said Lime will be sanitizing the scooters and facilities and educating riders on health and safety best practices.