Vancouver unveils bike-share program plan 0
Geoff Sharein stands in his shop, Spokes Bicycle Rentals, in Vancouver, Wednesday. Sharein shared his concerns about a new public bike share program with Vancouver City Council on Wednesday morning, saying it would harm rental businesses across Vancouver and that council hadn't consulted with him beforehand. (GEOFF LISTER FOR 24 HOURS)
Vancouver City Council got its first look at a proposed public bicycle share program Wednesday, but rental shop owners fear the introduction of a network of self-service stations will kill their businesses.
Vancouver transportation director Jerry Dobrovolny outlined plans at a council meeting to establish 1,500 bikes at 125 stations throughout the downtown core, and along the Broadway corridor between Arbutus and Main Streets by spring 2013.
He added ensuring cyclists have helmets in a province where it's mandatory to wear protective headgear is one of the biggest challenges the program faces.
But English Bay Bike Rentals owner Joe Kainer told council it's impossible for a small company to compete if a subsidized third-party vendor gets prime locations and charges the $5 daily rates Dobrovolny proposed.
He added only a few of Montreal's rental shops remain after that city started its own bike-share program in 2009.
Geoff Sharein, product manager at Spokes Bicycle Rentals, told council 60% of his company's business depends on rentals lasting two hours and under. He asked councillors to consider eliminating plans for an all-day access pass and excluding non-residents from the program.
Coun. Heather Deal also expressed concerns about the impact the program would have on local businesses.
"We do want to make sure we're not creating an unintended uneven playing field."
But Dobrovolny said at this point pay rates and station locations are still fluid as the city negotiates with potential vendors. City staff will continue evaluating the bike share system and is expected to seek council approval to award a contract to a vendor in the fall.
Meanwhile, council voted in favour of keeping controversial separated bike lanes on Hornby and Dunsmuir Streets and the Dunsmuir viaduct.