South Vancouver expansion for bike share program uncertain

Photo: submitted from the City of Vancouver 

The City of Vancouver’s recently announced bike share program will likely not be reaching South Vancouver anytime soon.

The program, a first of its kind for the city, was formed through a partnership with bike share operator CycleHop. It will launch 1,000 bikes and 150 stations this summer and then an additional 500 bikes and 50 stations by the end of 2016.

The program will initially service the Downtown Peninsula extending to Arbutus Street, 16th Avenue and Main Street. Second phase includes expansions west and east, but not further south.

The “smart bike” technology by Smoove, a bike product innovating company, allows the bikes to be unlocked and activated by an interface on the handlebars, and there also will be an app for riders to find the nearest station.

Jerry Dobrovolny, general manager of engineering for the City of Vancouver, said the current areas were chosen because they have the highest concentration of people, jobs and activities. In the future, he said, the city will explore opportunities in South Vancouver.

“You just have to be careful not to expand too much or too large of coverage area where all of a sudden now you’re starting to lose money,” said Dobrovolny.

IMG_0868
Langara College bike racks

South Vancouver possibly not busy enough

Colin Stein, director of marketing with HUB Cycling, an organization that addresses cycling issues in Metro Vancouver, said bike share programs target high density areas like the downtown core, but could see ways that it could thrive in the south.

Stein said he could see a bike share network working in South Vancouver between hubs like community centres, schools and the Marine Drive skytrain station.

“It would be ideal for someone to be able to get from Langara to Marine to Marpole, but that might be far down the road after the first model is proven out,” said Stein.

Corey Bussey, a first year library and information technology student at Langara College who bikes to school almost everyday said expanding the bike share program to Langara’s surrounding areas would be positive despite the areas lower population concentration.

“I don’t think it would be used as much as downtown, but I think it would be pretty good,” said Bussey. “It would get more and more people out into biking.”

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