Vancouverites have been waiting years for a comprehensive bike-sharing plan to be implemented across the city. Now it looks like scooter sharing may get here first.
Local company Saturna Green Systems has announced a plan to get approximately 100 shareable electric scooters on Vancouver streets by this summer. The bright orange mopeds are street legal and have a top speed of 45 kilometres per hour – offering an eco-friendly alternative to car-sharing services like Evo and Car2go.
For the initial roll-out, Saturna plans to focus on the University of British Columbia and surrounding areas, according to an article by Lauren Sundstrom in Vancity Buzz. The company is hoping that university students – especially those who need to jet across campus in a hurry – will be early adopters of the new technology.
But how does it all work?
- Up to 100 scooters will be available for use under a membership plan. Subscribers sign up and pay a monthly fee (approximately $15). A handy app shows the location of nearby scooters and lets members reserve their ride.
- Scooters are activated by punching in a pin code, no key required. For safety, helmets are provided with the vehicles. (The company also plans to give subscribers their own private helmets upon sign-up.)
- A fee of around $.25 per kilometre is assessed on rides. Saturna has developed an innovative 7-inch colour touchscreen that shows range and speed and also doubles as a GPS-navigation device.
- At the end of the trip, riders simply park the scooter – there’s no need to return vehicles to special stations.
Technically, the electric scooters are classified as light mopeds, which means that all riders will have to have a valid driver’s license (though no special motorcycle license is required). While scooters aren’t wildly popular in Vancouver yet, Saturna is hoping that its shareable technology will help the vehicles catch on. Mopeds and powered scooters are ubiquitous in cities like Milan and Paris, not to mention across large parts of Asia.