Kick, push, coast. That’s what Kelownians will be doing shortly now that the City of Kelowna has penned a deal with United States-based e-scooter company Spin.
In the San Francisco company’s international debut, a fleet of 400 electric scooters will be delivered to Kelowna “likely soon,” active transportation coordinator Matt Worona said.
“We’re really excited about this,” Worona said on being Canada’s first city to welcome Spin’s e-scooter share program.
Alternative transportation with an electric component has been more attractive to audiences than the typical pedal-powered bicycle share programs, Worona said.
“From last year to this year, the industry has moved quite a bit faster to the electric kick scooters and away from general bikes,” he said.
The city continues to look for more opportunities with other alternative transportation share programs to create a competitive market.
Worona, alongside city staff and councillors, have outlined a number of specifications to be met before issuing permits with companies to ensure a fair playing field.
“It won’t be a Wild West,” he said. “There will be multiple players abiding by the same rules.”
Currently, the City of Kelowna is talking with the Ministry of Transportation to change regulations to allow this type of vehicle on roadways. As it stands, Worona said, the e-scooters can only be used on multi-use paths such as the Rail Trail.
He said the ministry is looking to change this as soon as Monday.
“We want to be a place where people test things,” Worona said. “We want to be a place where innovation happens. This is a really, really big deal for Kelowna.”
“The fact that we’re open to this kind of thing helps shape the idea of what kind of city this is.”
Worona said the people of Kelowna can expect more permits with similar companies to be issued next week.