The new bike share network will have 750 bicycles at 110 hub stations across the city, spanning Dundas to Gage Park and the waterfront to Concession Street.
By Ryan McGreal
Published March 20, 2015
Hamilton Bike Share officially launched today at an upbeat, well-attended lunchtime ceremony at Gore Park.
Hamilton Bike Share launch ceremony
The new bike share network will have 750 bicycles at 110 hub stations across the city, spanning Dundas to Gage Park and the waterfront to Concession Street. Around 300 bikes are already in circulation, with the rest being deployed tomorrow in a public ride that starts at Seedworks Urban Offices, 126 Catharine Street North, at 10:00 AM.
The $1.6 million capital cost for the bike share system was provided by the Province of Ontario through the Metrolinx Quick Wins fund. The operating cost is expected to be covered by membership fees and advertising on the system itself.
The bicycles, stations, software and other technologies the City selected for this service is provided by Social Bicycles, a company providing third-generation bike share systems in which the smart techology is embedded in the bikes themselves rather than expensive Bix-style hub stations.
In addition to Hamilton, Social Bicycles is providing bike share services in Phoenix AZ, Orlando FL, Tampa FL, Providence RI, Buffalo NY, San Francisco CA, Haile ID and the University of Virginia.
Hamilton's system is being operated and managed locally by a non-profit corporation called Hamilton Bike Share, an innovative operating model being tested here for the first time.
A monthly membership costs just $15 and includes up to 60 minutes of ride time every day for 31 days. An annual membership costs just $85 dollars - less than the cost of a monthly bus pass.
Peter Topalovic, Public Works manager for transportation demand management, kicked off the launch today by noting that since the pre-launch in mid-January, the bike share service has averaged more than 100 rides a day.
In total, early members have already taken over 5,000 trips totaling almost 9,000 kilometres despite the brutal winter that just ended. (For my own part, I've taken 56 trips covering 112 kilometres.)
From left: Brad Tyleman, Hamilton Cycling Committee; Matthew Green, Ward 3 Councillor; Paul Miller, MPP for Hamilton East-Stoney Creek; Monique Taylor, MPP for Hamilton Mountain; Gerry Davis, Public Works General Manager; David Christopherson, MP for Hamilton Centre; Gene Wasik, Hamilton Bike Share Executive Director; Ted McMeekin, MPP for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale; Sean Burak, Hamilton Bike Share Operations Manager; Peter Topalovic, Public Works Manager for transportation demand management; Jason Farr, Ward 2 Councillor; Chelsea Cox, Hamilton Bike Share Community Manager; Chris Burke, Metrolinx director of service planning; Justin Wiley, Social Bicycles Vice President of business development
The roster of speakers included Ted McMeekin, MPP for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale and Liberal Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing; David Christopherson, NDP MP for Hamilton-Centre; Paul Miller, NDP MPP for Hamilton East-Stoney Creek; Ward 3 Councillor Matthew Green, bringing greetings from Mayor Fred Eisenberger, who was unable to attend; Gerry Davis, General Manager of the Public Works Department; Justin Wiley, Vice President of business development for Social Bicycles; and Brad Tyleman of the Hamilton Cycling Committee.
McMeekin drew cheers by citing the Liberal government's "activist agenda" to promote more active transportation in Ontario. He noted the new Provincial investment of $10 million over three years for municipalities to build more connected cycling facilities, as well as $15 million to add cycling infrastructure to provincial highways and bridges.
Hamilton City Council unanimously approved the Bike Share program less than a year ago. Originally, the system was supposed to be up and running by last summer, but that turned out to be an impossible deadline.
Most cities that adopt bike share programs take two or three years to deploy. Hamilton pulled off the tenth largest bike share in North America in less than a year.
CBC Hamilton was nice enough to publish an article by your humble RTH editor on my experience using the Hamilton Bike Share service over the past two months:
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