Montréal’s Official Opposition at City Hall held a press conference this afternoon to call for the deployment of self-service electric scooters with docking facilities in the city by 2023. In order to avoid repeating the 2019 pilot project scenario, Ensemble Montréal’s councillors are demanding that BIXI be mandated to operate the service.
“On the one hand, we’re seeing a real craze for electric scooters with more than half of Montrealers wanting them back. On the other hand, we had a pilot project that was an abject failure. The only way to meet the demand without another fiasco is to entrust the service to BIXI, which has a proven track record in managing self-service transportation systems,” said Alba Zúñiga Ramos, spokesperson for the Official Opposition on active transportation and BIXI.
As already stated by the Official Opposition during the 2019 pilot project, it would be in the city’s best interests to prioritize a para-municipal corporation that it is subsidizing to the tune of $46 million over 10 years, rather than a private operator. In addition to supporting a local business, this project would give BIXI added momentum by expanding its mobility product line.
Since the municipal by-law governing the operation of self-service scooters in Montréal was suspended in March 2020, the administration has failed to present any alternative solution to residents wishing to use e-scooter transportation. Since deploying electric scooters requires preparation, Ensemble Montréal councillors believe that action is needed now to meet the demand in time.
“The popularity of scooters is skyrocketing and they’ve become a part of Montrealers’ daily lives. It’s a preferred alternative for many people who would like to get out of their cars, but are less inclined to ride a bike,” said Stephanie Valenzuela, the Official Opposition critic for the environment.
A motion for City Council to mandate BIXI to deploy a self-service docked e-scooter rental service for its 2023 season will be tabled to City Council on June 13. The motion will also request that the Ministère des Transports du Québec’s self-service e-scooter rental project, which expires in July, be extended for another two years.