Windsor

'We will be showing up at your door': Search is on for missing e-scooters, service offline

Bird Canada is working to track down a portion of its fleet of e-scooters in Windsor just a few days after the launch of a pilot project in the southwestern Ontario city.

Bird Canada says service is offline while employees track them down

Bird Canada e-scooters, including these along the waterfront, recently debuted in Windsor, Ont., but the service has been shut temporarily after about 10 per cent of the 200 went missing. (Darrin Di Carlo/CBC)

Bird Canada e-scooter service in Windsor is temporarily offline as the company works to track down a portion of its newly launched fleet.

General manager Alexandra Petre said Bird Canada is working to resume service in Windsor, hopefully within the next 24 hours.

The devices can be activated using a smartphone app.

Last weekend, the company deployed about 200 e-scooters in the southwestern Ontario city for the first time under a pilot project. Some 10 per cent of those scooters have gone missing.

The devices have GPS on board, giving the company a bird's-eye view of their locations, so even if they end up in homes or other inaccessible places, the company can send someone to retrieve them.

"We will be showing up at your door, either with one of our staff or with a member of the police force to recover the scooter," she said.

According to the company, scooters going missing is something that tends to happen with a new launch, though this time around, it was a bit more "aggressive" and occurred quickly in Windsor, said Petre.

"What we do know is that this dies down after a couple of days, mostly due to the fact that people realize there's not a whole lot you can do with a scooter once you try to take it inside," she said.

The scooters aren't operable without payment, and don't have parts that are compatible with other devices, she said.

Pilot project launched

City council green-lit the 12-month pilot project last year, but it faced delays due to the pandemic. 

The scooters have been controversial in some cities due to safety concerns, particularly for people with disabilities.

Eventually, the company plans to deploy a total of 500 scooters in Windsor. Boundaries have been defined regarding where someone can pick up an e-scooter in Windsor: the riverfront to the north, Prince Road to the west, Tecumseh Road to the south and Drouillard Road to the east.

Petre said the Windsor launch has been a success.

"We received a lot of positive comments, we had lots of lots of rides and many excited people saying it felt like a new city."

 

With files from Jacob Barker

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