Canton eyes fleet of electric scooters activated by mobile app
BY PAUL MITCHELL
North Country This Week
CANTON - Village officials will be taking a closer look at allowing a mobile app activated fleet of electric scooters to operate in the village.
At its July 21 monthly board meeting, village trustees listened to a presentation by Jeremy Lynch, senior account executive for Bird, an electric scooter sharing company founded in 2017.Lynch said the company currently operates in more than 300 cities, many in the 15,000 to 55,000 population range.
“You join via an app and must be 18 years and older and submit a driver license,” Lynch said.
Before taking a cruise on the scooter, a person must watch a safety tutorial which explains how and where to operate the scooter, where to park and not park and local rules. Lynch said there is a $1 ride fee then a charge of 39 cents per minute.
He said the scooter program would come at no cost to the village. Lynch also noted that a community rate could be put in place which could mean up to 50 percent off rides for village residents.
The mobile app would be supervised by a company account manager. Lynch pointed out Bird will be looking to hire someone locally to serve as fleet manager, possibly someone who owns a seasonal business. Depending on the north country weather, the scooter program would be in operation April through November.
That person would be responsible for placing and retrieving rides and charging the scooters. Fleet managers, Lynch added, are also paid a portion of revenue from each ride.
“They will have to know where the fleet is all the time because they’re responsible for it,” said Lynch.
He said Bird would like to begin the program with 15 e-scooters with the potential of having 50 to 75 units available.
The village would have the authority to modify riding rules, parking regulations and other operational procedures associated with the scooters.
The scooters weigh 44 pounds and have a top speed of 15 miles per hour. They are equipped with an internal GPS, brake lights and a headlight. The parking process will require the user to upload a photo of the scooter. Rides will typically be shut down from midnight to 5 a.m.
“They are very simple to ride,” Lynch said. The e-scooters can be used for entertainment or simply a new mode of transportation.
Trustee Klaus Proemm said the next step, if the village decides to proceed, will be to negotiate an operating agreement and launch date.
Mayor Michael Dalton said he will approach officials at both St. Lawrence University and SUNY Canton to receive their input on the e-scooter proposal.
The nearest e-scooter program is in Oswego where according to Mayor Billy Barlow, there has been 99 percent positive feedback.