Vernon’s e-scooter program launched today | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon’s e-scooter program launched today

Image Credit: Submitted/Neuron

Neuron started Vernon’s first shared e-scooter service today, July 29, with a kick-off at 2900 Plaza at 9 a.m.

The company will provide 250 e-scooters for rent in the city as part of a pilot program approved earlier this year by the provincial government that allows the scooters to be ridden on city streets and in bike paths.

A similar program started in the spring in Kelowna with 20,000 people signing up within the first few weeks. But program rules and the number of scooters were cut back after complaints about too many people riding on sidewalks, too many children riding the scooters and users abandoning them in unsuitable locations.

READ MORE: New rules cut Kelowna e-scooter program by more than half

Neuron will limit usage to those 18 years of age and older.

Riders can download an app from Google Play or the App Store onto their phones to unlock and ride the scooters.

In a news release, Neuron says it will be the sole operator in Vernon, which will allow data to be collected "in a more controlled environment." There are a number of different companies renting scooters in Kelowna.

Vernon and Kelowna are the only Interior cities approved by the province to run three-year pilot programs to see if the scooters are suitable for use on city streets. Prior to this year, they were restricted to pathways.

READ MORE: Kelowna's e-scooters are a 'fracture factory', orthopedic surgeon says

Neuron is headquartered in Singapore.

“Neuron is the market leader in Australia and New Zealand, two of the world’s most regulated and safety-conscious markets,” states an email from the company. “These countries are similar to Canada particularly in the way many cities have decided to regulate e-scooters.”

It has about 100 employees in Canada and has hired about 25 local people for its Vernon operation.

Helmet wearing while operating the e-scooters is mandatory, the email says.

“We’re launching our safety-first e-scooters with many features and technology that have not been seen in Canada before – for example, our app-controlled helmet lock which integrates a helmet to every e-scooter,” the email says. “We believe our approach of partnering with cities and our unrivalled focus on safety show that we are well-suited.”

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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