1500 Shareable Bikes Coming to Vancouver: $6 million bike share approved

Bikes similar to these will soon be coming to Vancouver.  Photo credit: adminspotter | Flickr

Bikes similar to these will soon be coming to Vancouver. Photo credit: adminspotter | Flickr

Watch out New York, bike sharing is coming to Vancouver.

On the heels of Manhattan’s new Citi Bike program, Vancouver city council has formally approved a bike sharing plan.  The $6 million initiative will see up to 1,500 brand-new, shareable bikes hitting the streets by 2014.  In addition to its initial investment, the city will also pay $500,000 annually to keep the operation running.

The approval marks the end of a long and sometimes contentious planning process.  The first calls for a Vancouver bike share program began five years ago.  Along the way, pro-bike mayor Gregor Robertson and his staff have had to contend with everything from concerns about helmet laws to the relatively lukewarm reception of bike sharing in other cities.

While Vancouver’s new bike share program doesn’t yet have an official name, some details have already been ironed out.In order to use the system, you’ll need to purchase either a daily, weekly or annual membership. (The annual membership fee is $95, according to the Vancouver Sun.)  This will entitle you to unlimited trips of up to 30 minutes each.  If you exceed 30 minutes on any one trip, an additional fee will be assessed.

Some 1,500 seven-speed, adult-sized bikes will ultimately be docked at 125 solar-powered stations.  These stations will be spaced every two-three blocks within a zone that includes the downtown peninsula, as well as the area between Main and Arbutus Streets, north of 12th Avenue.  If Vancouver follows the example of other cities, a specialized smartphone app will display all the docking stations and even bike availability.

And how about helmets? Vancouver by-laws mandate that all riders wear bike helmets, a requirement that nearly stalled the bike share program completely.  But planners came up with the ingenious idea of installing helmet dispensers at each bike station.  For $3 per day, riders can rent helmets, which will be sanitized after each use.

Vancouver’s bike share program should hit the streets in early 2014, with an initial round of 250 bikes and 25 stations.  The program will be run by Portland-based company Alta Bike Share.

What do you think about the bike sharing plan?  Will it work in Vancouver? 

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9 Responses to 1500 Shareable Bikes Coming to Vancouver: $6 million bike share approved

  1. Pingback: 1500 Shareable Bikes Coming to Vancouver: $6 million bike share approved | The Times Of Canada

  2. teddy

    No, unless the helmet law is repealed and made to be optional, this bikeshare will probably fail, as it is doing in Melbourne. There are no successful, money making bikeshares with a mandatory helmet law in place.

  3. Legoboy

    Sure! People will no doubt run the risk of getting fines without helments, but that’s their deal.
    In Barcelona I was uber jealous of the option, as it’s not available to tourists, and it shouldn’t be! It’s a local/residents only initiative, and it’ll be excellent!

    Very exicted for it!

  4. Laurissa park

    Why only 30 minutes?

  5. Mr. Car

    The approval marks a long in the tooth, contentious planning process called “Gregor Robertson is in love with his bike” and demands you are too, it’s for your own good.

    It’s really a self serving mandate by a guy who thinks if he builds it they will come. It doesn’t work, and now we will pay the price to qualify that once more to the world.

    I say vote Robertson out and put someone there who can put more buses on the line so we have winter transportation not summer fun times looking at tress on the way to work. Just look at the numbers of people who ride bikes all year long it’s a very very small percentage it really will not help. People need cars get over it and build a proper infrastructure you know bridges, highways, sky trains, busses. Bicycles are not meant for downtown city driving if you are commuting from surrey or even richmond. Why? Because we don’t have affordable housing to live closer to work = take car to work from burnaby. How long before bikes are no longer efficient because population exceeds capacity and the roads become so bike lane narrowed we create more congestion? It’s not practical to ride your bike in the winter we do live in Canada you know duh!

    • ariana

      Transit initiatives rely on provincial funding, something that City counsel does not have control over. I agree that we need more transit funding, but its unfair to blame the mayor for that.

  6. Tourist

    The tourists will love you. The home grown bike rental businesses (who pay taxes) will not. Biking is seasonal so what’s your plan the other 8 months of the year? Not to mention it rains half the time in Vancouver who the heck is going to want to ride a bike in the rain? Oh ya the Mayor. Is this a recreational program disguised as a transportation plan? Why would you spend money on this when you have to wait 3 busses to get on one at rush hour? I think you have bigger problems and bikes will not help, in fact it will be the opposite. Nice call mayor good luck with your next election.

  7. Kathy Murdoch

    Bikes can’t and will not move quantity through the core but buses and sky trains can. Not everyone wants to or can go to work covered in sweat, mud and water (most physically can’t ride bikes or feel comfortable doing so not to mention it’s not the safest form of transportation in rush hour). Why are we not looking at proper effective means to resolve a very serious problem. This is a cheap solution of a joke at the tax payers expense. Not like we don’t have enough expenses (can you say olympics 2010). We pay for better solutions than this don’t you think? I didn’t see them doing this program for the Olympics. they put in a sky train because if made sense to move quantity.

  8. Ache

    The bike share idea is a waste of money. Toronto implemented a bike share program and no one uses it. The bikes are clunky and don’t ride nicely. If you are going to cycle, one can by a cheap bike for next to nothing and it doesn’t need to come out of the taxpayers pocket. I myself use my bike to commute all over the city and I really think the design of bike for the bike share is going to keep people from being interested……yeah, I love bikes and I love that Vancouver has become so much more bike friendly….but…bike share is a waste of money. Put it towards something else