Torontonians are finally able to cruise around on e-scooters — but only for a limited time.
Bird Canada’s electric scooter pilot is kicking off today in Toronto’s historic Distillery District.
Running from September 5 through 15, the public will be able to ride the e-scooters from 4 pm to 8 pm on weekdays and 10 am to 8 pm on weekends.
Using a virtual barrier known as a geofence, the pilot will take place in a contained and safe area within the Distillery District, to ensure the safety of Toronto riders.
While e-scooters are not yet approved for use by the Province of Ontario, the pilot will provide visitors, tenants, and residents in the privately-owned Distillery District with an opportunity to take Bird One e-scooters for a test ride, learn and practice micro-mobility vehicle basics, speak with Bird representatives, and receive Bird swag.
“We see e-scooters as an important transportation option for our tenants, as well as those who are visiting, working, and living in key cities across Canada, and are very pleased that we could help facilitate this pilot through our collaboration with Bird Canada,” said Gordon Wadley, Senior Vice President, Commercial Properties at Dream.
The Distillery District, which is home to many cafes, restaurants, and shops housed within heritage buildings of the former Gooderham and Worts Distillery, is owned by Dream, an investor in Bird Canada through Alate Partners.
“The response we’ve received following the launch of our Bird e-scooters in Calgary and Edmonton has been incredible,” said Stewart Lyons, CEO of Bird Canada.
“So, what better way to give those living in or visiting Canada’s largest city a taste of what is hopefully to come once e-scooters are approved for use in Toronto than to run a brief pilot in Canada’s premier arts, culture, and entertainment destination.”
Last year, a pilot from Lime kicked off in Waterloo, Ontario, making it the first city to test the scooters in Canada.
But it may be a while before e-scooters are allowed on Toronto’s streets.
“Under the Province of Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, vehicles like e-scooters are considered not legal for use on city/public roads, including within bike lanes,” said the City of Toronto’s Transport department in a statement to Daily Hive last fall.
In Calgary, 500 Bird e-scooters are on the streets right now, but Bird Canada is looking to add another 500 soon.