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E-scooters rollout in Vernon

Pilot project sees Neuron Mobility’s first B.C. and 4th Canadian launch
Neuron Mobility unveiled its fleet of 250 e-scooters July 29, 2021, in the 2900 Plaza downtown. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)

Vernonites have a new way to get from Point A to B as the City of Vernon welcomed a fleet of 250 e-scooters from Neuron Mobility Thursday — with up to 25 local employment opportunities in tow.

“I think this is the right fit for the community and I think it’s going to be a hit,” acting mayor Akbal Mund said at the launch on July 29.

Vernon was one of six municipalities selected to take part in the mobility pilot project and Mund said the city’s decision to move ahead with a sole operator will aid in collecting valuable data in a more controlled environment.

Now, riders 18-plus in Vernon can unlock the new mode of transportation on the user-friendly app and rent the e-scooters at 35-cents per minute or purchase passes from a variety of price points.

The leading e-scooter operator in Australia and New Zealand’s move into Vernon is the fourth in Canada and first in B.C., after winning licences to operate in Calgary, Ottawa and Red Deer, Alta.

Neuron’s e-scooters differ from others on the market with their safety-first approach, including special features such as an app-controlled helmet lock, wider platform and speed control.

The e-scooters have voice guidance that provides rider education on topics such as safe travel and parking.

“We welcome Neuron to Vernon and ask riders to follow the rules and be respectful of others when riding,” Mund said.

Those rules include mandatory helmets, allowing only one rider per e-scooter, keeping a safe distance from pedestrians, sticking to the bike lanes, multi-use pathways, empty sidewalks and roads with a speed of 50 km/h or lower, riding sober and parking responsibly without creating an obstruction.

This new mode of transportation will see travellers from as far north as Stickle Road to Polson Park down to the crossroads of Okanagan Landing Road and Lakeshore Road. This area, however, is not set in stone, a Neuron Mobility spokesperson said and may change based on feedback from users and the City of Vernon.

Riders will be able to explore the city from a new perspective and this, in turn, may benefit local businesses.

“Giving residents and visitors a new way to get around the downtown will help our business as they continue their pandemic recovery,” said Susan Lehman, executive director of Downtown Vernon Association. “On behalf of the downtown businesses, I’m excited to welcome Neuron’s safety-first e-scooters to Vernon.”

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