OTTAWA -- The city of Ottawa is parking the possible return of a bicycle-sharing program, clearing the road for e-scooters this spring and summer.

A report for the Transportation Committee says the $4 million start-up price-tag for City Hall to run a bike-sharing program is too expensive. Staff add e-scooters tend to provide higher revenue for operators.

Coun. Shawn Menard asked staff to investigate a city-run bike-sharing program.

VeloGo was the last bike-sharing service offered in Ottawa, with approximately 300 bikes a year from 2015 to 2018.  Staff say no interested companies have come forward to operate the program over the last two years.

Staff looked at four options for a bike-sharing model: city-owned and managed, city-owned and contractor managed, non-profit business and profit business.

The city determined the city-owned, contractor managed model was the best option for the city to ensure a sustainable system that focused on transit connectivity.   Under the plan, the city would need to spend $4 million to purchase 700 bikes and infrastructure for parking, and pay a contractor $3 million a year to operate the program.

"At this time, in light of the continuance of the e-scooter pilot and the magnitude of costs involved, combined with financial pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, staff do not recommend proceeding further in assessing bike share," the report said.

Staff say the growth of bike sharing in North America has stalled, which has coincided with the introduction of e-scooters.

"Fully privatized bike share operators also operate e-bikes and e-scooters and emphasize deployment of the latter as it tends to provide higher revenue," says staff.