Last year at the beginning of the pandemic, I went out cleaning key services in the community, and found the joy of e-scooters. I proceeded to ring the scooter bell fifty times, then joined a scooter gang for 10 minutes.
Shortly after, due to the pandemic, the scooters were put away and this whale was no longer able to “just keep scooting”.
Then entered the summer season of 2021 - Kelowna was the first city in Canada to create an e-scooter pilot project. Scooters were brought back into the community, but now from four different companies! Remembering the fun of scooting, I decided to take it upon myself to create some currents testing them all out at the beginning of June.
Unfortunately, new restrictions will be changing the available e-scooters in the community, but hopefully this will give an overview of what to think about when e-scooting. And make sure to follow the proper safety guidelines!
The four scooter companies that have been in Kelowna are Bird, Lime, Roll, and Zip. The app with all is similar, although each has a different map range and different cost, so I recommend checking the apps for the most current information, as the map and hours of use do change.
As shown in the breakdown, my favourite ride is Roll.
The roll features the fastest, smoothest ride. The scooters have big bouncy tires, so it is best for off-roading, and the handlebar is tall, which is great for those who are over 6-ft in heels. It has one of of the cheapest unlock fees, at $1.00 everytime you start a new ride, and the rate is $0.35 per minute. The screen has a large, simple readout, so you will be able to track just how fast you’re “rolling”. My only complaints are that you cannot reserve a scooter, and it has the hardest kickstand to close - it was impossible in heels, so I ended up having to use my hands!
LIME The silver prize ride for me is the Lime. They are the most plentiful around the community, has a smooth ride, decent speed, and medium smoothness. These scooters have the best screen readout and a tall handlebar. The scooters can also be reserved for 10 minutes for free, which is great for when you get stuck behind a school of fish.
When I reviewed these scooters, there was an unlock fee and $0.35 per minute, but they have now changed to a flat rate of $3.50 for the first seven minutes and $0.35 per minute after. This cost change doesn’t work for me, as my normal rides are between four and five minutes. So unless you are planning on scooting the full 7, the Limes aren’t worth the squeeze.
In bronze, the Zip scooters stand shorter than the first two (physically too). This was my roughest ride, and the scooter didn’t go very fast and yet the brakes were harder to use as they were quite touchy. The one I rode had a weird noise in the wheel. Still, it managed to stay above last spot for a couple of key reasons: the screen has a basic readout; and the scooters can be reserved for 5 minutes for free; and it is the cheapest scooter to ride, at $1.00 unlock fee and $0.30 per minute. One update since I did my scooter rides: they have now updated to say no riding between 8:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m., which seems unhelpful to those who work past 8 and want an easy way to get home.
And flying into last with a broken wing is the Bird brand scooter. It was the shortest and did not have a readout at all so you have no clue how fast you are going, but it was definitely the slowest model. The one I used had a wobbly handle bar, which was humorous considering the app is the one that gives you the most safety warnings before you start riding. Your first ride, you are charged a $10.00 deposit to start, and once you go through that the unlock fee is $1.15 and $0.35 per minute. You also cannot reserve these scooters, which doesn’t help a whale in heels ensure she has a ride after her gig.