The Big Read

The Halifax e-scooter business that’s not waiting for regulations

Every night, Max Rastelli follows his GPS up and down the hills of Halifax, scouring the city for discarded electric scooters in a sort of daily treasure hunt. Once found, the owner of HFX e-Scooters loads the devices into his van, takes them back to his shipping container on the harbour and charges them before redeploying them for the next morning’s commute. 

As e-scooter companies Bird and Lime fight for a foothold in Canada’s biggest cities, Rastelli has partnered with a Chinese scooter giant to launch his own business in the Maritime city. He’s been operating a fleet of about 30 e-scooters since July 2019. The business is a pilot project with Segway—now owned by Beijing-based vehicle manufacturer Ninebot—through which the company provides Rastelli with e-scooters and manages an app to arrange rentals and process payments. 

The business is small, but thriving. Rastelli said he turned a profit within four months of launching, thanks to Segway covering most of his capital costs, and he plans to double or triple his fleet this spring. “There’s money to be made,” said Rastelli. “It’s solving a problem and it’s fun as hell.” But hanging over his success is the possibility his fleet might not make it to its first full season on the roads. Neither the city nor province has passed regulations letting e-scooters in public spaces, and while Rastelli says the lack of legislation gives him a bye, his more patient prospective competitors suggest he risks being banned from the market. 

    Subscribe now to start reading premium, award-winning journalism.

    By entering your e-mail you consent to receiving commercial electronic messages from The Logic Inc. containing news, updates, offers or promotions about The Logic Inc.’s products and services. You can withdraw your consent at anytime. Please refer to our privacy policy or contact us for more details.

    In-depth, agenda-setting reporting

    Great journalism delivered straight to your inbox.

    An illustration of a person wearing a red graduation gown and a cap with a maple leaf tassel. It has a purple background.


    Alberta unveils carbon-capture and storage incentive details

    Dow to build US$6.5B net-zero petrochemicals megaproject in Alberta

    Federal government, Google reach $100M deal on Online News Act

    Best business newsletter in Canada

    Get up to speed in minutes with insights and analysis on the most important stories of the day, every weekday.

    Exclusive events

    See the bigger picture with reporters and industry experts in subscriber-exclusive events.

    Membership in The Logic Council

    Membership provides access to our popular Slack channel, participation in subscriber surveys and invitations to exclusive events with our journalists and special guests.

    Canada's most influential executives and policymakers are reading The Logic

    • CPP Investments
    • Sun Life Financial
    • C100
    • Amazon
    • Telus
    • Mastercard
    • bdc
    • Shopify
    • Rogers
    • RBC
    • General Motors
    • MaRS
    • Government of Canada
    • Uber
    • Loblaw Companies Limited