Is Kelowna’s bike share program here to stay?
Tuesday marked the 90-day anniversary of the 18-month Dropbike pilot project in Kelowna.
The bicycle sharing pilot program allows users to pick up a Dropbike at a designated “haven” and use it for $1 an hour.
Users download an app on their smartphones, pay a $50 refundable deposit, and are ready to go.
So how is the program fairing in Kelowna? According to city officials — so far, so good.
“We think it’s done quite well,” the city’s active transportation coordinator Matthew Worona said. “We’ve got 32,000 rides on 350 bicycles. We have about 15,000 users just in the Kelowna market alone. That’s really exciting for us.”
Worona said the city is working alongside private operator Dropbike to work out kinks that are cropping up.
“Are we blocking sidewalks? Are we managing this in the right way?” Worona said. “We’re learning from other cities how to do this as well as possible as this is new and we’re evolving with it.”
The city of Kelowna is hoping to keep the program going right through the winter months.
“Bike shares run through winters in Toronto, Hamilton and I believe in Vancouver,” Woroba said. “So we’d like to see that brought forward, but we know that working with this operator is a little more of a give and take and it depends on how they feel about the market as well.”
It seems that officials at Dropbike are as thrilled with the summer results as the city. Co-founder Afraj Gill is excited to continue community building in Kelowna.
“We are pretty blown away,” Gill said. “The results speak for themselves. People in Kelowna are people who like being active.”
READ MORE: Kelowna’s Dropbike nears launch
Gill added Dropbike will be announcing several new cities in Canada, as well as south of the border, that will also be launching bike share programs.
As for costs of repairing the bikes, Gill says it’s as expected.
“We’ve operated the bike share long enough to know what to expect,” Gill said. “The good things is we have a lot of checks and balances in place in terms of minimizing vandalism and bad behaviour, so it’s something we put a lot of work into.”
Once the 18-month trial period ends, both the city and Dropbike will decide whether the program becomes a permanent Kelowna staple. In the meantime, the bikes will keep speeding along through the city as usual.
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