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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

TransLink explores scooter sharing in Metro Vancouver

You may soon be able to rent an e-bike or scooter in Metro Vancouver.

TransLink is examining how micro-mobility services could help improve transportation in the Lower Mainland.

The transportation authority is seeking public input to help shape its upcoming 30-year plan called “Transport 2050.” A survey is now open at: transport2050.ca

One popular mobility option TransLink is seeking public input on is e-bikes and scooter sharing.

E-bikes and scooter sharing services like Lime and JUMP (owned by Uber) haven’t taken off north of the border like they have in the U.S., in large part due to stricter rules and regulations.

Photos: Scooter sharing services could soon be coming to Vancouver

Lime scooters San Antonio
Lime scooters for rent in San Antonio, Texas.
Lyft scooters San Antonio
Lyft scooters for rent in San Antonio.
Razor scooters San Antonio
Razor scooter for rent in San Antonio, TX.

In B.C., electric scooters and e-skateboards are prohibited from using roads or sidewalks under the Motor Vehicle Act. E-bikes are allowed, but only on the road and designated cycling paths.

That’s because the Act defines them as motor vehicles, and they don’t meet provincial safety standards for on-road use.

Currently, anyone caught riding an e-scooter or e-skateboard on a public road or sidewalk could be fined $598 for operating a vehicle without insurance.

However, that could change in the near future. Earlier this summer, the provincial government announced its active transportation strategy, called Move, Commute, Connect, which is looking at updating the Motor Vehicle Act, and possibly paving the way for e-scooters and e-bikes on B.C. streets.

The province wants to double the proportion of trips taken using active transportation modes by 2030. It recently expanded the Scrap-It program to provide an $850 incentive for the purchase of an e-bike when a high-polluting vehicle is scrapped

One of the challenges with scooter and ebike sharing in an urban setting like Vancouver is that scooters are often knocked over on sidewalks as they are dockless and only held up by a kickstand. Scooters and ebikes are also prone to vandalism.

Scooters Atlanta GA
Scooters knocked over on the sidewalk in Atlanta, GA.
Scooters Atlanta GA
Damaged scooter in Atlanta, GA.

Several U.S.-based e-scooter sharing services have expressed interest into getting into the Vancouver market, with Jump recently participating in The Future of Mobility speaker series, organized by TransLink.

The operators of Vancouver’s bike sharing service, Mobi by Shaw Go, has also expressed interest in offering e-bikes and e-scooters, as its parent company, CycleHop / HOPR, already offers these services in other cities outside Canada. HOPR also recently launched on UBC’s Point Grey campus, but at this time, is limited to pedal-powered bikes with a dockless sharing system.

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Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner is an experienced journalist and media relations professional, based in Vancouver. As founder of urbanYVR.com, he has been reporting on urban development across the Lower Mainland since 2016, and has also served as vice-chair of the Gastown Historic Area Planning Committee. In October 2022, he was elected to Vancouver city council and is no longer actively reporting for urbanYVR.

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