UBC's new bike share gaining popularity with rides starting at $1

Sep 26 2018, 1:00 am

The new bike share program at the University of British Columbia’s Point Grey campus is quickly gaining traction.

According to the university, over 6,000 rides were recorded during Dropbike’s first five weeks on campus. The bike share program had a soft launch in early-August, and its official launch was just last week.

UBC selected the Toronto-based provider for its 12-month-long pilot program, which will start with as many as 200 bikes and could eventually grow to up to 2,000 bikes throughout the pilot period.

“I’ve seen many students and other community members using the bikes already and I think it’s going to be a great addition to campus life,” said UBC President and Vice-Chancellor Santa Ono in a statement.

Dropbike enables students, faculty, and staff to travel across longer distances of the large campus quickly, affordably, and conveniently.

The system can be used after a $50 one-time membership deposit, with user fees starting at just $1 per hour. These bikes can be unlocked by scanning the bike’s QR code using the program’s smartphone app.

Alternatively, frequent users can acquire a 24-hour pass for $15.75 or an annual pass for $157.50.

Solar-powered equipment enables a remote locking device and a GPS locator for both users and operators to locate the bikes.

There are also no bike docking stations, making this bike share program more convenient to use, but users will still need to park their bikes within a designated “haven” zone.

“The main goal of the program is to help UBC students, staff, faculty, and residents get around this large campus a little more easily,” said Adam Hyslop, Transportation Planner for UBC.

We’re hoping the availability of bike share will support UBC’s wellbeing and sustainability goals by encouraging greater levels of activity, reducing barriers to transit use, and making it easier to access the wide range of services and amenities available on campus.”

Moreover, without any bike station physical infrastructure, dockless bike share systems like Dropbike are far cheaper to implement, compared to Mobi, for instance, which is significantly subsidized by the City of Vancouver.

Dropbike launched in downtown Kelowna earlier this year, and it is also found at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg and other Canadian cities such as Waterloo, Oshawa, Montreal, and Kingston.

Other dockless bike share providers using similar app-oriented user technology have also been expanding to other BC cities. U-Bicycle has been in Victoria for a year, and it received municipal-level permission last month to launch bike share services in Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, and Richmond. Up to 700 bikes could be deployed between these three cities.


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