Lifeline for SoBi bike-sharing program approved by Hamilton city council

A plan to keep Hamilton's bike share program going for the rest of 2020 has been approved by city council. Lisa Polewski / 900 CHML

Hamilton’s SoBi bike-sharing program will roll on.

City council has approved a non-profit organization’s pitch to operate the program at no cost to taxpayers through the rest of this year.

Hamilton Bike Share has secured funding through a variety of sources, including user fees, $70,000 that it was able to raise through a GoFundMe campaign and a $100,000 gift from the Patrick J. McNally charitable foundation.

Stoney Creek councillor Brad Clark credits the community with stepping up through donations, saying they have “clearly put their money where their mouth is.”

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The last-ditch plan to rescue SoBi follows Uber’s decision to walk away from its operating contract on June 1, and city council’s contentious decision last week to reject the use of $400,000 in taxpayer dollars to temporarily prop up the system of 900 bikes which are owned by the city.

City staff estimate it will take about a week to finalize a contract with Hamilton Bike Share. In the meantime. the distinctive blue and white bicycles are not functional.

Hamilton’s bike share program dates back to 2014, when the city received a $1.6-million Metrolinx grant to buy the bicycles and stations.

It currently has 26,000 registered users.

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