Vancouver bike share update expected at city council

Staff with the City of Vancouver are expected to update council today on the city's long-awaited bike share program.

Program was approved in 2013 but has faced major hurdles

Bike sharing has become popular in cities across North America but it has also been met with several challenges. (CBC)

Staff with the City of Vancouver are expected to update council today on the city's long-awaited bike share program. 

City staff began looking into the project in 2009, but it has faced many delays. The bike share program was expected to launch in 2014.

First, bike supplier Bixi announced it owed $50 million to creditors and was heading for bankruptcy. Then the company contracted to run the program, Alta Bike Share, was bought out.

Last year the city announced it was looking for a new company to install and operate the bike share program.

Today, the head of the engineering department is set to present an update to council. But details on what exactly will be presented aren't clear — no one from the city was available ahead of the council meeting.

Colin Stein, director of marketing with the HUB cycling coalition, says it could be an update on a variety of issues.

"One part of the solution could be corporate sponsorship," he said. 'It could be about the supplier itself, or some combination of the two."

Stein says the program has been slow to get off the ground, but he hopes that means Vancouver will avoid the problems that bike shares in other cities have faced.

Vancouver's bike share plan calls for an initial $6 million investment to set up the program, and an additional $500,000 every year to expand the program with a long-term goal of 125 docking stations for 1,500 bikes throughout the city.

With files from Stephanie Mercier

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