Montreal ends electric scooter scheme, citing 'disorder'

Montreal ends electric scooter scheme, citing 'disorder'

electric scooters
File photo of electric scooters on a street in Cologne, western Germany. (Ina FASSBENDER/AFP)

MONTREAL: Montreal on Wednesday (Feb 19) called a halt to its electric scooter scheme, saying that riders broke rules and almost always parked illegally.

The Canadian city launched a pilot project in June with 680 scooters and electric bikes, but authorities judged that the test period had been a "failure."

Eric Alan Caldwell, head of city transport, lambasted "an 80 per cent delinquency rate" in complying with traffic and safety regulations.

"Only 20 per cent of scooters were parked" in dedicated spaces, the city said in a press release, adding that the scooters created "disorder" and problems for pedestrians.

"Montreal does not want to become a scooter police force," Caldwell said. "The operators have failed to meet their responsibility for compliance with the regulations.

"In 2020 there will be no more scooters on the streets."

Although no serious accidents occurred, a total of 110 parking offenses were recorded and 333 tickets were issued for breaking regulations - mainly for not wearing a helmet.

Caldwell added that the permits for electric bikes would be renewed, but under tighter regulations.

The Canadian offices for electric scooter brands Bird and Lime both expressed disappointment in the city's decision to stop the scooter program.

"Ultimately, this decision will negatively impact the mobility and micromobility of Montrealers," said Bird Canada in a statement, though it added the company "looks forward to continuing working and collaborating with the City of Montreal" to eventually bring the scooters back.

Lime echoed Bird's sentiments, with the general manager for Canada calling the scooter scheme's end "a major step backwards for the people of a city committed to reducing congestion and carbon emissions."

"It's clear there was a real demand for greener, more convenient transportation options," said Michael Markevich.

Shared scooters have become part of life in cities around the world, but they have often been criticised for littering sidewalks and posing a danger to pedestrians.

In November, Singapore banned electric scooters on sidewalks, followed by Germany and France.

Source: AFP/de