No Mountain locations for bike share program

A Hamilton councillor says he’s “taken aback” by the fact that no Mountain stations have been planned for the city’s new bike share system.

Program to be rolled out this summer

A Hamilton councillor says he’s “taken aback” by the fact that no Mountain stations have been planned for the city’s new bike share system.

On Thursday, the city released a finalized map of the locations for the network, which is set to be rolled out this summer. All of the 105 stations will be in the lower city, spanning from Dundas in the west to Gage Park in the east.

“I’m definitely taken aback by this,” said Scott Duvall, a councillor for the city’s Central Mountain.

Ward 7 Coun. Scott Duvall, right, is asking staff to re-evaluate station placement for the planned bike share network.

He said city staff assured him and Ward 8 Coun. Terry Whitehead that stations would be installed in their wards.

“We have contacted our staff by email and I’m waiting for an answer back," he said. “We’ll be pursuing hubs being brought up to the Mountain.”

In December, city council voted to direct $1.6 million of provincial money to establishing the program, which will hit Hamilton streets this summer.

New York City-based Social Bicycles (or SoBi), who will operate the bike sharing system, unveiled a social media campaign in February to ask Hamilton residents where they would like to see the docking stations placed. The community-submitted locations included dozens of sites on the Mountain and in the city's east end. 

City staff took some of the suggestions and used them to develop their finalized list, but didn't include any approve any locations for the Mountain, Stoney Creek, Waterdown, Ancaster or for any of Hamilton's rural areas. 

CBC Hamilton wasn't able to reach any of the city's bike share planners for this article. 

Coun. Maria Pearson, whose ward Stoney Creek won’t receive any bike share stations either, said she’s not disappointed with the outcome of the plan.

“You can’t spread it all over the city right away,” said Pearson, who said she’s a strong supporter of the initiative.

She said she hopes the project “does take off” and that the network will be expanded to reach other parts of Hamilton.

Pearson also noted that people can use the bike share system as part of a larger trip. A commuter, she said, can take the bus for a segment or his or her trip, and use take out a bike to go the rest of the way.

“It’s just one more option that I think is great.”

Social Bicycles (or SoBi, for short) has also revealed pricing for the bike share system. An annual pass, which allows users to take out a bike for 60 minutes per day, costs $85. A monthly pass runs $15 dollars and users can opt for a pay-as-you-go plan for a price of $6 an hour. 

Here's a primer from Social Bicycles on how the system will work.