Five e-scooter companies expressed their excitement at testing out a new market in Red Deer at an official launch ceremony for the pilot project on Wednesday.
Bird, Link, Neuron, Roll, and Spin collectively have brought 1,000 rental e-scooters into Red Deer, with plans to make it 1,500 by later this summer.
Representatives of all of the companies introduced their scooters and their various safety features at a launch in Capstone. Red Deerians were invited to try out the different brands by taking the scooters for a test ride.
Isaac Ransom, government relations representative for Neuron, summed up the general sentiment by stating “This is a great opportunity.”
With Red Deer’s 120 km of park trails, “we’ve had some great success here,” he added. “There has been a lot of uptake.”
Among those giving the e-scooters a whirl at Wednesday’s launch was Red Deer’s celebrity street dancer Spandy Andy. He gave his smooth ride a big thumbs up, saying it was a lot of fun.
Mayor Tara Veer said she’s been thrilled to see people riding on e-scooters along sidewalks and park trails since Canada Day. Having seen e-scooter rentals in larger markets, Veer added she was pleased to hear the city’s economic development staff have been working hard throughout the pandemic to bring the electric scooters here as well.
She believes it will boost local tourism — as does Erin Stuart, the city’s inspections and licensing manager.
Stuart said the entry of these companies into the local market has created a few new jobs in the city and more chances for Red Deerians, central Albertans — and even people from Edmonton and Calgary — to come to the city and enjoy rides along the expansive trail system.
The three-year e-scooter pilot project will run during the summer months until Oct. 31 2023. At that time it will be reviewed and decisions will be made about whether to retain the program, or tweak it.