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Calgary e-scooters pulled for winter break, will return in March 2020

Calgary e-scooters gone for winter 2019-20
Electric scooters have been pulled from Calgary for the winter but are set to return in March 2020. Matthew Conrod looks at the success of the pilot program.

After a successful summer launch, Calgary’s Lime and Bird electric scooters have been removed from city sidewalks for the winter.

The City of Calgary said back in September that the e-scooters, which are only allowed to operate on sidewalks, would be temporarily removed from November until March 16 because of snow and ice.

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The removal of the e-scooters will no doubt leave a number of Calgarians disappointed, as the pilot program has been a hit since it launched in July.

According to the city, the 500 e-scooters that were introduced during the Calgary Stampede were so popular it was actually a top-10 North American launch for Lime.

READ MORE: Edmonton e-scooters set on fire, companies say they’ve never seen anything like it

As for the overall usage numbers throughout the duration of the program, City of Calgary spokesperson Andrew Sedor says those too are staggering.

“Thus far through the pilot, there’s been 950,000 rides and 150 unique users,” Sedor said.

Despite a great number of Calgarians welcoming the e-scooters, plenty of safety concerns were raised, including complaints of riders operating scooters without a helmet, riding them on the street rather than the sidewalk and interfering with pedestrians.

READ MORE: Concerns grow over Calgary e-scooter safety

In September, the city launched a public survey that targeted those who have used the e-scooters and those who haven’t, in the hopes of learning more how they can improve the 16-month pilot and if it should be a permanent fixture.

According to Sedor, the process of analyzing the data in the now-closed survey is already underway.

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“We’ve received 9,000 responses, so we’re coupling that with our [Geographic Information System] data which we’ve collected from the scooters, which is 75-million points of data,”  Sedor explained. “We’ve also commissioned a study through Alberta Health Services looking at injury rates, and we’re also looking at our 311 [calls].”

READ MORE: City of Calgary wants your feedback on e-scooters

A full report on the results of the survey is scheduled to be released on Dec. 18,  and the city plans to re-launch the scooters in March 2020, weather permitting.

Lime’s dockless e-bikes, which can be used on Calgary streets, are still available but will be removed on Dec. 1.