OTTAWA -- You could be zipping around Ottawa on an electric scooter again this year if a plan approved by the transportation committee gets the nod from city council.

The transportation committee voted unanimously to approve a plan to extend the city's e-scooter pilot project into 2021, making them available from April 1 to Nov. 30.

Last summer, more than 72,720 unique riders took more than 238,000 rides on e-scooters between July 16 and Oct. 31. Bird Canada, Lime and Roll were permitted to rent scooters to users across Ottawa. There were 600 e-scooters available for use in 2020.

The expanded project would also increase the city's fleet of e-scooters to between 1,200 and 1,500. Three-hundred of those scooters would be available outside the Greenbelt. 

Up to three e-scooter operators will be chosen through a competitive procurement process for this season. 

Ottawa police issued 14 tickets, worth $180 each, to e-scooter riders for illegal sidewalk riding last summer and fall. Concerns about sidewalk use and improperly parked scooters were raised by some delegations speaking to the committee but, ultimately, committee chair Coun. Tim Tierney urged members to support the plan. The report prepared for Wednesday's committee meeting noted that measures were taken in 2020 to address those issues, including requiring providers to respond to misparked scooters in under one hour. Sidewalk riding was also made illegal through a bylaw. 

The City says operators would have to provide a way to report improperly parked e-scooters in the app, monitoring and moving them as needed, and warning or removing riders for parking violations. There would also be some designated parking areas, with operators providing incentives to park in them.

The proposed plan must still be voted on by full city council on Feb. 10.