Council to discuss rental scooter and bike program in Calgary
A Calgary councillor will be putting forward a motion on Monday that could see the genesis of a formal bike share program that could see thousands of bicycles and scooters available for rent in the downtown core.
Evan Woolley is behind the idea, saying that it could do wonders for tourism in the city as well as provide an alternative way for workers and students to get around without burning any fossil fuels.
"It's an opportunity for us to provide better mobility choice. It's no cost to the taxpayer. In fact, we'll actually make some money off of this. There will be about 50 to 70 jobs created."
To rent the bikes, users download an app to their smartphone that handles all the payment and rental procedures. Once the rider has gotten to where they want to go, they can park the bike at another lock-up area and continue on their way.
Woolley says they would need to get a third party to come in to supply and maintain the bikes and scooters to help the city save on costs.
"The City of Calgary has met with about 15 of them. There are different levels. There are much smaller ones and then there are companies like LimeBike that have hundreds of thousands of these bikes out there."
He says that when bike sharing companies first came out they were very expensive but those costs have since come way down.
"There were big challenges in the version 1.0 of bike share. We saw a lot of cities, like Montreal, really really struggle with the technology and the systems they had in place. We have seen that evolve rapidly over the last year and we have been watching very closely so we can bring forward the best practices."
Many people already think the idea has wheels.
Sadie Bayne, from Edmonton, says the program would make things really convenient. “If we came here from Edmonton, we are not going to bring our bikes and go around. It’d be good for getting around, especially as a tourist.”
Brittany Seguin, from Windsor, Ontario, says that having a place to easily rent bikes in Calgary would be great. “It’s always good to have an alternative to public transportation. Get up, get out and enjoy the weather. We’re walking everywhere now but you’d get to see so much more if you had that opportunity.”
Martin O’Brien, originally from England, was recently in Vancouver. He says a bike share program works well in that city. “It’s very popular there and it’s popular in Europe as well."
The initial plan is to put 10,000 bikes and scooters on the streets by the fall.
If successful, Calgary would join other major cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria.
(With files from Jordan Kanygin)