It was 100 years ago that electric trams first began zipping around Vancouver’s North Shore.
Now, riders are set to harness electricity in a different way – on bikes.
North Vancouver is set to become the site of Canada’s first and only electric bike sharing program, according to the North Shore Outlook. A new company called North Shore Electric Bikeway plans to make shareable electric bikes available starting in June, using a system similar to the popular car2go ride sharing service.
An initial fleet of five bikes will be stationed out of Lower Lonsdale Avenue’s Cafe for Contemporary Art (140 E. Esplanade). Riders can opt to pay $500 for an all-you-can-ride annual membership. Alternately, they can pay a $200 enrolment and be charged each time they use a bike: $.75 for the first half-hour and $1.50 for each subsequent half-hour.
Electric bikes have a small electric motor designed to assist the rider. They’re especially useful on hilly terrain like the North Shore, whose roads rise steeply along the flanks of the Coast Mountains.
Already, 80 riders have signed on as Electric Bikeway members. The fleet is expected to grow to 100 bikes serving 1,000 riders by the end of the summer, according to the Vancouver Sun.
Each bike is outfitted with a GPS transmitter and tracked using the service’s mobile and web app (which doesn’t seem to be available quite yet). Registered riders log into the app to identify where the nearest available bike is and then sign it out.
Unlike traditional bike sharing programs, no special infrastructure is required. Bikes are picked up and dropped off at virtual stations shown on the app, which can be as small as an individual bike rack or as large as a city block.
It is expected that there will be at least 15 stations along Lower Lonsdale Avenue, situated outside local cafes and businesses, which can opt to “sponsor” a bike.
Has anyone tried one of North Shore Electric Bikeway’s bikes yet?
For more updates on Vancouver and beyond, follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza.