E-moped ride share coming to Kelowna early next year | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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E-moped ride share coming to Kelowna early next year

A new type of e-scooter is coming to Kelowna early next year.
Image Credit: Submitted/Loop Scooters
November 08, 2019 - 1:30 PM

Loop Scooters is planning to launch a new type of ride share program in Kelowna after getting a permit from the city yesterday, Nov. 7.

While the company refers to its vehicle as an e-scooter, the City of Kelowna refers to it as an e-moped to differentiate it from the style of e-scooters currently being rented out by three companies – with a fourth one launching on Sunday.

The Loop product is a mini-motorbike that can only be operated by someone with a Class 5 driver's licence and who is required to wear a helmet (which will be provided in the storage compartment of the scooter with additional liners available for subsequent renters.

Loop is a company with headquarters in Vancouver. It launched the scooters in Vancouver and Victoria earlier this year but only as free vehicles for employees of Harbour Air. It’s trying to get business licences \ from a number of Lower Mainland cities in order to launch a rental sharing program.

Kelowna is making it easier to launch here, Molly Millar, director of strategic partnerships for Loop told iNFOnews.ca.

“Kelowna is a fantastic market for us in terms of embracing a healthy outdoors lifestyle,” Millar said. “And real kudos to the City of Kelowna. It’s one of the only municipalities in B.C. with a bike share permit program so they’ve laid out clearly the criteria and have made it really easy for companies like ourselves to decide if we meet the criteria or not and apply to get a business licence. It’s been a real joy working with them. Because of that, we know it will be a success there when we launch in early 2020.”

Their permit is for 25 scooters.

There are a number of differences between the Loop program and the existing e-scooter rentals, other than the style of machine.

The stand-up scooters, currently, are not allowed on roads so are geo-fenced to specific pathways along the waterfront and the Rail Trail. City council, earlier this week, asked staff to look into a possible ban on the e-scooters on certain pathways downtown. The city has also applied to the province to expand the range of these scooters and are expecting approval soon.

These smaller scooters can be dropped off anywhere within their geofenced boundaries so they can be picked up by the operators for recharging. Helmets are recommended but not required on most of them.

Loop's scooters have to be picked up and dropped off at charging stations. Since they’re licenced the same as motorcycles, they can travel anywhere but need to be returned to one of those stations. They have a maximum speed of 50 km per hour.

Rental rates and station locations have yet to be finalized, Millar said.

Loop is the sixth rental share program to get permis in Kelowna in less than a year. Three are currently operating and Roll will launch its product at 10 a.m. Sunday at the Tourist Information Centre on Kelowna’s waterfront.

Roll’s product is similar to the others but they require helmets to be used. They will be offering e-bikes later this year.

Spin is a U.S.-based company that has a permit for 400 scooters but doesn’t plan to launch until next year.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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