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Bike Share in Waterloo Region
#1
I am finding myself very jealous of Hamilton's bike share system. I have seen Community Access Bikeshare but the big drawback for me is that there are not nearly enough stations to make it useful for most trips. Also, the system seems a bit dated in comparison - the key boxes are inside buildings so there's not 24 hour access, not to mention it shuts down for the winter. Does anyone here have any experience with CAB? Or any inside information on what the future may hold for this system?

I know there was a failed effort to launch a new bike share system - Grand River Bike Share - a couple of years ago. What would it take to launch a Sobi style system here? Do you think there is enough support to make it worthwhile?

Some interesting information on the launch of Sobi Hamilton from the FAQ on their website:

Quote:SoBi Hamilton is the local, non­-profit operator of the system, and the bikes and racks are owned by the City of Hamilton. The City of Hamilton received $1.6 million funding from the Metrolinx Quick Wins program to fund the one-­time purchase of the bikes and station infrastructure. Social Bicycles was chosen as the system and equipment provider after submitting a proposal through an RFP process. No local taxpayers money was used to fund this project. While the City paid for the capital expenditure with the Metrolinx money, they do not financially support the operations. Operations of the bike share system are fully funded by membership fees and sponsorships. Since SoBi Hamilton is a non­-profit organization, any additional revenue from operations will be reinvested in the system to expand the service area and purchase new equipment.
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#2
I adore SoBi!

We discovered it last summer and made use of it several times while visiting Hamilton. I've suggested several times on twitter and via email to them that if they're looking to expand, Waterloo Region would welcome them with open arms!

Transit connections are continually improving and having the ability for a visitor from Toronto to get off the train and hop on a bike, and proceed right up the Spur Line trail could be a huge draw.
For daily ion construction updates, photos and general urban rail news, follow me on twitter! @Canardiain
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#3
My wife and I were CAB members for a few years while we were living in Uptown. We rarely had issues getting access to the key boxes. All the Waterloo locations are 24 hour, as are a number of Kitchener locations. The station map meant they were most useful for trips between Uptown and Downtown, or out and back trips. A few times we went on trips that lasted several hours (St Jacobs, job interviews, etc.) and the CAB people were always happy to let us keep the bikes all day.
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#4
highlander, you're right that SoBi is great. I was living in Hamilton at the time it launched- there was some opposition at first (based on the cost, the fact that some street parking was lost to stations, and that the coverage area was a relatively small part of the city), but it didn't take long for it to be generally viewed as a great success.

For a price tag similar to the system in Hamilton's, it would be a bargain in KW. Which level of government would fund it, though? If the Region, would Cambridge be okay being left out for a while? In Hamilton, the initial coverage area was only part of the lower city, maybe twenty square kilometres or so. A SoBi system in KW would probably be concentrated along the King corridor, between say (spitballing here) Fairway and Columbia or Northfield. I don't think it could justify itself in less dense areas.

It would be really cool. I think it could be very successful here.
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