Will those green Lime scooters and red Jump bikes be back on Montreal streets come spring?
The opposition at city hall wants Mayor Valerie Plante to pull the plug on the dockless electric services.
“It was really a disaster,” said Ensemble Montreal Coun. Alan Desousa, describing last year’s pilot project that brought the scooters and e-bikes to Montreal.
“We can have a contest to find the most ridiculous places they were found in our community,” he said.
At a press conference Thursday, Desousa and opposition leader Lionel Perez showed photos of Lime scooters found in the Lachine Canal, the middle of a sidewalk and in the metro. The pair also said Montrealers ride them dangerously, without helmets.
“We don’t want to continue being guinea pigs just because the administration has this love affair with anything bike,” said Perez.
Desousa and Perez said they will file a motion at the next city council meeting on Jan. 27 demanding the city pull the plug on the dockless services and focus more on Bixi instead.
“It’ll be win-win for everyone,” Perez said.
Bixi boasted a record-breaking 5.8 million rides last year, but the head of the service said those numbers could have been better without Jump and Lime.
Director general Christian Vermettes said he would love to see them gone. Unlike the services targeted by Perez and Desousa, Bixi can only be parked at designated docking stations.
Velo Quebec president Suzanne Lareau said she sides with Perez and Desousa.
“I agree with the opposition. The e-scooter does not add any value for the mobility proposition in Montreal, and e-bikes, the Jump system, is in direct competition with Bixi. Montreal invests in Bixi and the operation of the system,” she said.
“They really detract from success stories like Bixi,” said Desousa.
Mayor Plante, however, is not ready to act on their demand.
“I’ll leave those dinosaurs to think a certain way,” she said of Perez and Desousa on Thursday.
She mentioned the city’s continued investments in Bixi and pointed to the popularity of the rival services.
“They were quite popular. A lot of people were using them, the bikes and the scooters. This is why I’m asking to see it from a broader perspective. More people using active transport is less people in their cars, maybe, or less people being squeezed into a bus.”
Lareau said she believes the scooters just prevent people from walking, not necessarily lessening the load on public transit.
Lime told Global News over 200,000 rides were taken by 50,000 different users in Montreal last year.
“Montrealers demonstrated clearly that they value scooters as a transportation option,” said Michael Markevich, Montreal general manager for Lime.
Plante recognized there were incidents, and that there is room for improvement.
“Can we improve? Absolutely. To be honest, at this point I’m not saying, ‘yes, they’ll all be back,'” she said.
Plante said she’s waiting for an official report on last year’s pilot project before making any decisions.