Hamilton set to receive over 600 donated bicycles from Portland, Ore.

Lisa Polewski / 900 CHML

Hamilton’s bike-share program is set to see it’s fleet increase by 625 thanks to a donation from the city of Portland, Ore.

The former SoBi program will get bikes from the U.S. after Portland’s Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) upgraded their fleet with an electric pedal-assist system this past September.

“PBOT determined that the best way to extend the life of the original fleet was to donate them to another bike-share system that uses the same technology,” the transportation agency said in a statement on Monday.

Read more: Hamilton, Ont., bike-share program relaunched after technical delays

Local staff say the Portland-based bikes are fully compatible with Hamilton’s existing fleet.

Hamilton City Council voted to approve the donation and pay the one-time $50,000 shipping cost to bring the unit across the border via the sustainable mobility programs, last Friday.

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Portland City Council approved the move on their end Wednesday.

It’s expected that the bulk of the bikes will be put into use with parts from others being used to extend the life of the current fleet.

Portland Bureau of Transportation

Hundreds of bicycles from a fleet used by the city of Portland, Ore. The U.S. city is donating 600 surplus units to Hamilton, Ont.Meanwhile, the city’s bike-share program will also get a financial boost through a separate three-year sponsorship deal announced on Friday with cable company Cogeco Connexion.

“Sponsorships like this strengthen our community and help to make bicycle travel a more feasible, safe and accessible option,” Mayor Fred Eisenberger said in a social media post following the Cogeco announcement.

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A local non-profit bicycle group was able to save and take control of the city’s bike-share program after Uber ended an agreement with Hamilton in May 2020.

City council approved a pitch from Hamilton Bike Share Inc. (HBSI) to operate the program at no cost to taxpayers through the rest of the year. The group relaunched the system last June.

The program currently has around 26,000 members, more than 800 bikes, and 130 hubs available to rent 24/7 covering about 25 square kilometres from Ottawa Street to Dundas.

Read more: Non-profit offers last-minute plan to save Hamilton’s SoBi bike share program

The system offers pay-as-you-go (15¢ per minute) and monthly ($20 per month) membership plans, as well as a new seasonal supporter plan at $100 for six months.

HBSI says it plans to operate the system via revenue from its own internal fundraising, sponsorship, user revenue and organizational contributions.

It has a contract to run the program with the city until December 31, 2022.

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Ask an Expert: Cycling safety for novice riders – May 31, 2020

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