Ride Sharing Scooters In Calgary
The downtown core in Calgary is a busy place and people need to get around it quickly, and sometimes fabulously. We have cars, taxis, Uber, bikes, public transit, rickshaws, even own our legs and feet, but what if those options just aren’t good enough? Enter: electric scooters (e-scooters). Lime and Bird scooters have launched in Calgary! Fun, fast, cheap and environmentally friendly, electric scooters will let you zip around the city like never before. There are currently . How do they compare? Let’s break it down homies.
What Are Electric Scooters?
Also called e-scooters, right now on Calgary streets, sidewalks, on corners and elsewhere are hundreds of electronic scooters that people can rent, for a pay-per-minute fee. You just stand on it and it’ll take you where you need to go, no pedaling or pushing required. These electric scooters are battery powered (which you can earn $$$ for charging, more on that here) and can go over 20km/h! Because everything is electronic, so you’ll need to download their app and add your credit card information first before you can start using them. No cash, no coins. It’s hassle free and these scooters will make sightseeing and other similar activities so much more fun.
They’re ‘dockless’, in that there is nowhere to return them to. You use them to get to your destination, and then just leave them there (so long as you follow the rules). These scooters have been available in many other cities around the world for quite some time. They’re GPS tracked, built solid and should last a long time if used properly and not thrown in the damn river.
They each have a throttle button on the right handlebar, that will make you drive forward, and a brake on the left, which will make you stop. Couldn’t be simpler.
Who Owns The Scooters?
There are two companies operating electric scooters in Calgary as of July 2019, Lime and Bird. A third company called Ugogo will be coming in the future.
They both work the same way and have similar products and pricing. Lime also rents out bikes. Bird also has bikes but they aren’t in Calgary at this time. At this time, Bird only covers the downtown core. Lime covers most of the city limits, however the majority of their scooters are also downtown. This will change; during the winter months, Lime will only operate throughout the downtown core.
Ride Sharing City Pilot Program
The scooters/bikes are part of a 2 year electric scooter and bike sharing pilot program being tested by the City of Calgary. Ugogo was also granted a license but is not operating just yet. The pilot runs from September 2018 until October 31st 2020, where they’ll re-evaluate how things are going and to determine if it’s the right fit for Calgary long term. So far? Things seem to be going pretty good. Just be careful.
Lime / Bird Scooter Rules in Calgary
You’re not required to wear a helmet with e-scooters but it is encouraged. Can kids ride Lime and Bird scooters? Nope. To use an electric scooter in Calgary you need to be 18 or older. The scooters can go pretty fast, so even though you don’t have to, you probably should wear a helmet. Better safe than sorry.
The scooters go really fast, much faster than you would expect. Please go slow at first, until you’re a leet master and can do wicked rad jumps and tricks with them. Like anything, rad skills take time to learn, so take your time and don’t smash your elbows.
How To Use A Lime / Bird Scooter
It’s the same for both, and easy to do. In short, you open the app and locate a nearby scooter on a map. Walk up to it and scan the QR code on the handlebars to unlock it. When you’re finished riding, use the app again to re-lock the scooter. The amount of time you used it for will be deducted from your account. Make sure you follow the rules on where
Download the app
Download and install whichever app you need. Follow their easy to follow steps and create your account.
Add A Credit Card, Make A Payment
After you’ve installed their app, go into settings/payments and add a credit card. Their apps are secure so you don’t have to worry about the internet stealing your lucky charms. Once that fun stuff is done, make a payment to give your account its first balance. If you add $10, each time you use a scooter it’ll takeaway from your balance. Pretty easy to understand. It’s like a laundry card.
If you need help: https://help.li.me/hc/en-us
Lime and Bird both use credit cards, however Bird also offers the option of using Google Pay, and Lime offers the capability of using Apple pay. You can pay using debit, using those, if you prefer.
Scan QR Code and Go!
On the handlebars of the scooter is a QR code which you’ll scan using the app. Once it recognizes the code and you have enough credit in your account, it’ll unlock and you’re off! Remember that they charge by the minute, so don’t doddle.
Lock It Again, Leave it
Once you’re at your destination, use the app again to lock the scooter for the next person. Make sure you leave it in a location that doesn’t block or annoy people.
Riding A Scooter
They really are as easy to ride as they look.
- Stand on the scooter with one foot, kicking off with your other foot and holding down the accelerator on the handlebar.
- While in transit, place your feet in the center of the scooter, one in front, one toward the back.
- Squeeze the brake slowly.
How Much Do Scooters Cost To Rent?
In order to rent the scooters in Calgary, make sure you’ve first added credit to your account. The apps will then take their payment from your available balance of credit on your account. If your account runs out of credit you can set it to automatically add more credit to your account. There is also a low income discounted option for people that need it. Read more about that here: Lime: community impact and here: One Bird.
$1 to unlock, ¢0.30 a minute.
Free to unlock, ¢0.35 a minute.
(until August 12th unlocking is free. After that it’ll be $1.15 to unlock)
Where Can You Park Scooters?
The idea with ride sharing is you basically just leave the scooter wherever you are when you’re done using it, but there are a few rules you’ll still need to follow.
Basically they just don’t want them left anywhere that they’ll be in the way. Use common sense and you’ll do fine.
- No parking them within/on c-train platforms, bus terminals, MAX stations or any other public transit space, unless designated.
- No parking them in loading zones, accessible parking zones, wheelchair ramps, bike ramps, curb ramps.
- No parking them on bridges or center median islands.
- No parking them within 1.5 meters of a garage or drive way.
- No parking them within access to street furniture, such as benches.
- No parking them within shrub beds or within 0.5 meters of trees.
Worth noting, from the Lime website on parking in Calgary:
Parking is not currently authorized on university campuses, Stampede grounds, East Village (CMLC), the airport, malls or on any other private property.
Suggestions Where To Park Scooters
- On the side of city pathways
- Beside street lights, garbage cans, Canada post boxes, Calgary Parking Authority terminals without obstructing any pathways.
- Side by side.
Earn Money By Charging Scooters (Juicing)
You can earn money by finding scooters with low batteries, bringing them home, charging them up overnight then releasing them back into the wild (they’ll show you where to drop them off in the app). Doing this is referred to as being a ‘juicer’. In order to do it you’ll need to sign up and get approved get their charge cables sent by mail. You can’t just head out right out to grab one off the street and charge it for money.
After you’ve signed up they’ll send you some chargers, which you need to pay for. You can find more chargers on Kijiji and the Facebook marketplace.
How It Works
- At the end of the day, after 8pm, collect low battery scooters.
- Bring them home.
- Charge them up overnight.
- In the morning they’ll show you where to drop them off in the app, by 7am.
What It’s Like To Be A Juicer In Calgary
LiveWireCalgary did an interview with a Calgarian who is working as a juicer, check out their ‘what its like to be a juicer‘ article for an idea of what it’s actually like in Calgary, from someone actually doing it. She also runs a FB group for local juicers.
How much money can you make charging scooters?
Right now you’ll make about $5 per charge. There are several factors involved in just how much money you can make though.
- Location! If you live downtown, it’ll be much easier to find, collect and charge the scooters vs living way in the deep south.
- Are you driving? Try to harvest several scooters at the same time.
- How many other people charging scooters are in the area? Maybe try another area.
Limes website says “Juicers can earn up to $30+ per hour and $100+ per night collecting, charging and redistributing Lime-S”. In addition there are lots of YouTube videos going into detail just how much money you can make charging scooters.
Note: since you’ll be earning money, they do ask for your social insurance number when signing up. You’re earning income, which needs to be reported to the government. Fun fun.
Here’s a detailed guide on making money with charging Lime scooters. Also, a user on reddit went into detail how much money he’s making charging Lime scooters in Calgary.
Get A Free Helmet!
Both companies Lime and Bird offer free helmets to customers. See their sites for all the details, but you just pay shipping. Around $10.
Scooter Safety Tips
- Wear a helmet. Protect your brain, you only get one.
- Watch out for pedestrians! You’re sharing the sidewalks with people that will get really hurt if you smash into them, especially at full speed.
- Go slowly through crosswalks. Use caution.
- Just like when in a vehicle, always be aware of your surroundings. Cars can still easily run you over don’t forget.
- Ride in the bike lanes instead of on the sidewalk whenever possible. Do not ride in road!
- Only one rider per vehicle.
- Resist the urge to stunt ride.
- Don’t ride one-handed! So dangerous. No holding a phone or coffee and scootering.
- Do not use headphones, you’ll need to hear all of the traffic.
- Don’t ride when drinking/drunk, or under the effects of medication.
- Decelerate when going downhill, ride the brakes slow.
- Before using a scooter, check it over. Is it damaged? Everything working? Don’t figure that out at 20km/h.
- Watch out for objects like rocks, glass or potholes.
- Don’t ride in the rain.
Stay alert and stay safe.
Get Your Own Scooter
Of course Amazon sells electric scooters.
I think these electric scooters make an excellent addition to Calgary, especially in the downtown core. Tourists and Calgarians both will now be able to zip all over the place around downtown, quickly, for an affordable price, AND while having fun doing it. Hopefully Calgary city council decides to keep them around.