Bird e-scooters take flight, successful season for Canada-owned company as Ottawa usage soars

Bird e-scooters in Ottawa
Photo provided by Bird Canada

Ottawa residents were clearly revved up about electric scooters last year, with new statistics showing their usage soared as the vehicles expanded their area of operation.

According to Bird Canada – one of three e-scooter providers to the city in 2021 during the second year of a pilot project – usage of its vehicles increased by 52 per cent compared with 2020 to a total of 244,467 rides.

The company said the average ride last year covered two kilometres, with passengers travelling a total of 458,638 kilometers – double the total distance travelled in 2020.

“The significant increase in the number of trips taken and jump in the average distance travelled reinforces that Canadians are increasingly adopting e-scooters as a micro-mobility solution,” Stewart Lyons, CEO of Bird Canada, said in a news release. 

“Given the immediate environmental and economic impact of e-scooters, we anticipate many more cities across the country to explore e-scooters pilots in the future.”

Greenhouse gas reductions

A total of 1,200 scooters were rolled out on Ottawa streets in 2021 from three providers – Bird Canada, Lime and Neuron. While the two-wheeled vehicles operated only inside the Greenbelt in 2020, the city expanded their deployment area in year two of the pilot project.

E-scooters, which have a speed limit of 20 km/h, are borrowed using a mobile app and must be parked in designated areas. 

The city sees the vehicles as a form of “micromobility” that gives residents an alternative to using their private vehicles or ride-hailing services such as Uber, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Bird said riders across Canada last year saved about 147,000 litres of gas and prevented an estimated 800 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.