CycleHop: Ottawa bike share service won't fully launch until 2015

The company working to revamp the capital region's biggest bike share service says it won't be able to launch in August as planned.

'Sneak peek' coming in fall for company revamping former BIXI service

The company working to revamp the capital region's biggest bike share service says it won't be able to launch in August as planned.

CycleHop, a Miami-based company running bike share services in five southern U.S. cities, said Friday in a news release that transferring and expanding the former BIXI program from the National Capital Commission is taking more time than they expected.

They said they're planning a "sneak peek" at four Ottawa-Gatineau locations this fall as they work on getting land permits for the full launch in the spring of 2015.

"To pinpoint it on CycleHop only, I think that's a misunderstanding of how these programs launch and what it takes to launch them," said CycleHop CEO Josh Squire.

"I think (users are) going to be very very happy. But I do understand that it is also frustrating that they have wait a little bit longer."

The NCC operated three years of BIXI service in the region, growing to a fleet of 250 bicycles, but said in 2013 it wanted to sell it.

Squire said they want to have a fleet of 500 bicycles and 50 stations across both cities.

More like car-share than BIXI model

CycleHop took over the Ottawa-Gatineau bike share program in April 2014. They said they're working with New York company Social Bicycles, which is developing bike share services in Hamilton, Ont., and seven American cities -- none of which are fully operational yet.

Social Bicycles website compares their service to car-sharing services such as VRTUCAR, where bicycles are equipped with a keyboard and GPS instead of putting that technology in the bike rack.

Users get an ID number they can use to reserve a bicycle online or punch into a keyboard of a bike they come across to take it in-person.

In Hamilton, users who don't return their bike to one of Social Bicycles' "hubs" face a small fee to their account, while users who pick up a bike and bring it back to a hub get a credit to their account.

"SoBi Hamilton" costs $85 for an year-long pass allowing 60 minutes of use per day, $15 for a month pass or $6 for 60 minutes of use.

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