It’s no secret that Vancouver is a growing city. Look in just about any municipality, and you’ll see extensive construction projects underway; rent is through the roof and property prices have never been higher even with the new 15% tax on foreign owners. All this adds up to major congestion on just about every major road – and not just during rush hour.
Is it any wonder, then, that with so much going on to drive up the price of living and slow down traffic, more people are resorting to bikes to get themselves where they need to go? As an alternative to cars, they’re slower and shorter-range, but also cheaper and more versatile, not to mention easier to park.
So what’s the big deal about bikes? Well, Vancouver has jumped up its car-share system with EVO to include shared bicycles too. The idea is a simple one: publicly available bikes, located near major areas of residence, that people can borrow and use to get to and from their destinations. And Mobi, Vancouver’s new program, is providing the bikes – hundreds of them.
Distinct as they are, with their unique shape and the logo of the City of Vancouver, it is unlikely the bikes will be stolen. Yet this new scheme has critics – its $180-per-year price tag for unlimited 30-minute rides to and from transit hubs is, many argue, exclusionary to low-income commuters.
Despite the local novelty, Vancouver is hardly alone in taking up such a task – hundreds of cities worldwide currently employ similar schemes, including in Canada. Yet the arrival of this form of progress in Vancouver is a big change, one sure to affect many travellers across the city. Faster, safer, more convenient travel by shared bike will clear up the roads, and relieve cyclists of the dangers of having to store their bikes in public where they might be stolen.