Details emerge about Vancouver’s bike share program

Bike share

Vancouver’s planned bike share program will feature 1,500 GPS-equipped cycles and 125 docking stations with helmet-dispensers, according to a detailed report released Wednesday.

The city expects to spend $6 million to help owner-operator Alta Bicycle Share purchase the bikes and stations, and another $1 million for startup staffing and signage.

The program is expected to cost about $500,000 annually after the first year.

City hall initially promised to deliver the program this year, but Councillor Heather Deal said extensive negotiations and planning forced them to push it back to early 2014.

“We wanted to make sure that the financial program and the entire business case was very solid,” Deal said.

In the meantime, Deal said Vancouver has benefited from studying other cities’ successes and failures implementing similar services.

“There’s about 500 cities right now that have bike share programs and there’s a wide variety of things like funding models and financial stability within them,” she said. “We wanted to make sure it was a made-in-Vancouver success story.”

Apart from the annual costs, the city expects to lose about $800,000 per year in parking meter revenue.

Alta Bicycle Share estimates the program will break even at start and eventually deliver surpluses; the city will take 50 per cent of any profits made.

Annual memberships will cost $95, but users can opt for one-month or one-day memberships for $20 and $5, respectively.

The report, which will be presented to council next week, recommends the docking stations be located every two to three blocks.

Up to 60 per cent will be located on the street while the remainder will be on sidewalks and a mix of public and private property.

To ensure riders abide by helmet laws, the city aims to have helmet vending and return receptacles at every station at launch.

Deal said the helmets will be cleaned and checked for safety after being returned.

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