Bird e-scooters may be next app-activated transit option on Montreal streets

E-scooters from the California-based company Bird may soon join the field of electric, app-activated transit options in Montreal.

Radio-Canada has learned that the company, the main competitor of Lime e-scooters, is in talks with the city to operate here. No official request has yet been made.

Lime scooters became available to Montrealers this week in the the boroughs of Ville-Marie, Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension and Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and the City of Westmount as part of a pilot project.

Jump bikes, which are also electric and unlocked via the Uber app, were introduced last month.

The vehicles run on batteries, and users pay per minute of use.

The city has put certain restrictions on the bikes and scooters to minimize the risk to public safety. Jump bikes must be fastened to bicycle parking spots when the rider is done, and Lime scooters must be placed in designated parking zones.

Helmets are required for users of both services and they cannot be used on sidewalks.

Unofficial statistics show the average length of Jump bike trips during the first month of operation was 21 minutes. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

Bird Canada president Stewart Lyons told Radio-Canada that an official request for a permit to operate in Montreal is coming “very soon.”

Lyons said Montreal is a good fit for e-scooters, and wants to see Bird scooters on Montreal roads within a month.

A spokesperson for the office of Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said that goal is “moderately realistic,” though the city is still reviewing whether to issue more permits.

Both Lime and Jump have permits to operate in Montreal until Nov. 15.

Lyons said Bird would like to start with 250 scooters, compared to the 430 that Lime is allowed to have on Montreal streets this summer. He said Bird is already renting a warehouse to hold its scooters.

The electric mobility company’s Canadian head said the restrictions the city has put on the scooters could be a “problem,” but that the company would work to operate within them.