Monday, March 7, 2011

Bike-share to make its return to Ottawa

It's been a bumpy ride, but after a one-year hiatus, the Bixi bike-rental service is going to return to Ottawa this summer. From the Ottawa Citizen:
The NCC, Ottawa and Gatineau, ran a successful pilot project in 2009 and had planned to launch a full-blown system of 500 bikes at rental stations spread throughout the Ottawa-Gatineau downtown core. The project is designed to provide an alternative mode of transportation downtown and enhance the green credentials of the capital. The scaled-down program will cost the NCC $660,000 and start with 100 bikes — 10 at each station. But Lemay said the goal remains 500 bikes, and the numbers will be increased as Ottawa and Gatineau come aboard.
After that fairly successful 2009 pilot program, the hope was that a company would step forward and manage the system for summer of 2010, but none did. The program was put on hiatus, but it appears the NCC is going to move forward with it now, even without the cooperation of either municipal governments in Ottawa or Gatineau--which the NCC was looking for--or an outside company to manage it.

Good for the NCC. In 2009 most reviews were positive, but it may still take a few years for the service to really gain sustainable traction in the city; if the NCC can help it get to that critical mass, a company should have no problem taking over and managing the system. Montreal has shown it can work, if supported sufficiently.

2 comments:

JuliaR said...

I am a die-hard cyclist. I don't even own a car (at the moment). I love everything about cycling. But I am not sure I would use a bike share. I saw the Velibe system in operation in Paris in 2008, the year after it opened. It seemed like a good idea and I saw lots of people using the bikes, but I also saw lots of bikes ruined.

If I am a cyclist, I will use my own bike here in the city. If I am not a cyclist, I don't think I'd be interested in cycling downtown. That leaves cycling visitors. I would think they'd have to be pretty hard core to cycle on a bike that isn't theirs in a city they don't know.

It would be interesting to look at the raw data that Paris has (hopefully) accumulated after more than 3 summer of running this sort of program. I hope someone is looking at it!

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