Electric ridesharing mopeds roll onto Victoria streets

Electric ridesharing mopeds roll onto Victoria streets

You may have seen them cruising around the Capital Region already.

For weeks, a company called “Loop” has been testing out a small fleet of electric scooters in anticipation for launching in the capital city in Spring 2020.

The company, which has already launched a small fleet in Vancouver, calls itself the world’s first fully-integrated electric moped sharing platform.

The concept is similar to other ridesharing companies.

Users would download an app that would identify available mopeds that could be rented for a fee. Once a moped is selected, the user would receive a 4-digit code which would allow them to unlock the moped as well as unlock a helmet.

“Ultimately we’ll have zones established here in the city where people will be able to pick up a scooter and drop off a scooter, it won’t be completely free-flowing where people can leave them anywhere,” says Loop’s CEO Mathew Clayton.

The company still needs a business license but hopes to eventually have pick-up and drop-off points at various locations around the city.

Clayton says he plans to bring between 100-150 mopeds to Victoria.

Unlike other e-scooter companies that are waiting for provincial tweaks to the Motor Vehicle Act to operate on streets, Loop says its mopeds are licensed under current legislation. Users, however, would need a class 5 license to operate the mopeds.

Mayor Lisa Helps says the city has received inquiries from transportation companies like Loop looking to operate in the city.

“We know it’s something our residents want, we know it’s something our businesses want, so we’re working on it,” she says.

On Thursday Victoria council is scheduled to discuss a new transportation strategy called GoVictoria which the mayor says will include things like bylaws allowing for e-scooters in the city.

She says once the strategy has been approved, the city will be in a position to work with companies looking to bring alternative modes of transportation to the capital city.

“By 2030 our target is that 80 per cent of people will be walking, cycling, rolling or taking transit to work, and only 20 per cent will be driving cars, that’s the goal,” Helps says.

As for Loop, the company has partnered with Harbour Air. The mopeds will be parked outside its terminals in Victoria and Vancouver. In the last few weeks, Harbour Air employees have been testing the mopeds around the city.

The mopeds can go a maximum of 50-kilometres an hour with the electric batteries lasting around 50-kilometres. It takes just over 4 hours to charge one battery fully.

The company is also discussing an incentive program where riders would receive a discount if they charge the mopeds after use.

Loop hopes to be open to the public in March 2020.

We’ll have more on this story tonight on CHEK News

Joe PerkinsJoe Perkins

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