Kingston’s first bike-sharing program has just pedalled through its first summer and initial numbers indicate the app-based rental service attracted thousands of riders in the pilot project.
It’s hard to miss the orange bicycles: they’re either being pedalled around the city, or parked at 15 locations, including the Queen’s University campus.
The city of Kingston partnered with a Toronto-based company called Dropbike.
Dropbike operations manager, Jasmine Denike, says everything is done through a cellphone app. Users can locate, unlock and rent the bicycles for a dollar an hour.
“We’ve had thousands of riders all summer, especially with tourism in Kingston it’s been very popular,” Denike said. “Now that school’s started, we see a lot more usage around Queen’s campus so it’s been really interesting to see where the bikes are going and what kind of trips people want to take.”
Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson says one of the bike’s attractive features is that they are dockless and don’t need bike racks.
“In Montreal, in Hamilton and other places they are used the city invests in docking stations,” said Paterson. “So, these are physical stations and they’re quite expensive.
“To help gauge the success and public support for a bike-sharing program the city is now conducting a ten-question survey.”
Traffic supervisor Mark Dickson says the survey asks a number of questions about what people would like to see in a bike-sharing program and who should operate it.
“What’s important about a community bike share to people whether that be reducing congestion on the roadway, reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Dickson said.
The survey results will form part of a future staff report to council to see if bike sharing should be made a permanent fixture using space on public sidewalks says Dickson.
“It will be open to anybody to bid on it will be like any request for proposal that the city hosts.”
Paterson says there have already been requests for the program to be expanded.
“I know that I’ve heard from St. Lawrence College that they would love to be part of this and have some bikes that would be available there for their students.”
So far, 1,500 people have used the bikes a total of 4,500 times.