British Columbia

Orange and white uprights pop up in Kelowna: city launches new bike-share

Orange and white bikes have been popping up around Kelowna as the city introduces the bike-sharing program Dropbike.

180 bikes have been placed across the city's downtown core

The city of Kelowna partnered with Dropbike to offer a dockless bike-sharing program. (Dropbike/Phillipe Roberge)

Orange and white bikes have been popping up around Kelowna as the city introduced a bike-sharing program called Dropbike.

In its first week of existence, the program, which already operates in Ontario and Quebec, clocked about 500 individual rides and 1,000 trips.

"We think it's going really well," said Matt Worona, the city of Kelowna's active transportation coordinator. "It's showing some really good signs."

Unlike Mobi in Vancouver, Dropbike bicycles don't require docking stations. Users log onto their smartphone app to unlock the bike's back wheels. When a rider is done their trip, they park it in one of a number of designated downtown locations called havens.

The pilot project is a joint venture between Dropbike and the city. Kelowna provides the space for the havens and Dropbike operates the rest, as well as covers the costs.

Because the city hasn't had to contribute public funds, it's more flexible in its expectations.

"We don't really have an investment to return on," said Worona to Daybreak South host, Chris Walker. "What we want to see is lots of use for not a lot of disorder in our public spaces."

Worona said the city has the infrastructure to add more bikes, but any more growth depends on how much people use the program.

The city is also looking at the possibility of expanding the project outside of Kelowna's downtown.

Although there is no timeline yet, Dropbike and the city intend to run the program up until the snow starts to fall.

Listen to the full interview below.