E-scooters have hit the streets of Ottawa for a pilot program. The devices are back in the Nation’s Capital for a third year, with some changes to the program.

Two providers, Bird Canada and Neuron Mobility, will be providing the scooters this year.

“It’s sustainable, it’s zero emissions, and you’re helping to reduce our carbon footprint,” said Isaac Ransom, of Neuron Mobility, one of the scooter providers.

Neuron scooters laucnhed in select areas of Ottawa Wednesday. The city of Ottawa says Bird scooters will be phased in next week.

The e-scooter program, now in its third year, includes new restrictions on riders and the companies operating the electric scooters, as well as changes to the scooters themselves.

E-scooters will be required to emit a continuous sound while in operation so people can hear them approach, and apps must only allow riders to end their rides in a designated parking area. The scooters are also not allowed on sidewalks and must only ride on streets under 50 km/h. The city says new technologies and penalties have been implemented to deter sidewalk riding and improperly parked e-scooters. 

“If an e-scooter is improperly parked, the rider will continue to be charged a fee until it is properly parked or retrieved by the provider. Providers have also implemented fines and will remove users from their app who disregard the local rules, including sidewalk riding and improper parking,” the city says.

“You will be able to see in your app where you can park in the city,” said Ransom. “You will have to park in a designated parking area and what will happen is when you want to end your ride, you return it to a designated parking area.”

Scooters being abandoned around Ottawa was one of the issues raised during public consultations following last year's season. Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury says the city will work with the scooter companies to ensure the rules are followed.

“If you see a unit abandoned in a spot that’s not appropriate, call 311,” said Fluery. “The company will have 15 minutes to move the unit and if not, the city will tow it. There is a fine to that.”

The launch of this year’s e-scooters was delayed because of the changes.

There will also be 300 fewer scooters compared to last year, with a fleet size of 900.

The 2022 season is approved to operate until November 15, 2022, weather permitting.