Vancouver Starts Up a Bike-Sharing Program

Description

On July 20, 2016, the City of Vancouver launched a bike-sharing program throughout the downtown peninsula and south of False Creek to 16th Avenue, between Arbutus and Main streets.

A Mobi Bike

A Mobi bike. Image: Jimmy Jeong, City of Vancouver

Potential Significance

The bike-sharing program, named “Mobi” expands options for mobility, encourages a healthy lifestyle and more cycling, increases use of new bike lanes in the city, reduces pressure on transit, and lightens vehicular traffic. By the beginning of December, around 5,000 people signed up for monthly or annual bike-share memberships and an additional 5,000 bought daily passes.

Background

  • The City signed a five-year agreement with CycleHop Canada to provide up to 1,500 bikes, beginning in the summer of 2016. The bike-share system cost the City $6 million in one-time vendor fees and startup expenses, and another $2 million in costs for its first five years. In return, the contractor pays the city an undisclosed share of per-bike revenue.
  • The bikes are “Smart Bikes” and can be activated and unlocked from a docking station through an interface on the bike or through a payment kiosk, making them an easy and convenient option for short trips. Helmets are available on bikes at no additional cost.

  • In December 2016, Shaw signed on as a sponsor for an undisclosed sum, rebranding the program as Mobi by Shaw Go. The 100 Mobi stations in the downtown area will have access to Shaw’s free wireless Internet service and thereby expanding free WiFi in the city.
  • The bikes are available on a day pass or through purchase of a monthly or annual membership. Free helmets are provided.
  • City has been trying since 2009 to set up a bike-sharing program as part of the Greenest City Action Plan (see 2011 Milestones). Bixi, Vancouver’s one-time partner in plans for bike-sharing, ran the continent’s first public system in Montreal until it filed for bankruptcy in 2014.

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