Hamilton bike share to launch in March 2015

Hamilton's Bike Share is touting the news as "good things who come to those who wait," but after delays in the bike's electronics and complications syncing them Canadian telecommunication carriers, the official bike share launch will be pushed back to March 20, 2014.
The much-anticipated bike share program SoBi sets up a demo station on James Street North. Some residents get a chance to test out the program's GPS-enabled bikes. (Sunnie Huang/CBC)

Hamilton's Bike Share is touting the news as worth the wait, but after delays in the bike's electronics and certification with Canadian telecommunication carriers, the official bike share launch will be pushed back to March 20, 2014. 

At least, that's when they'll start charging members. 

SoBi Hamilton, the bike share's operator, announced the spring 2015 launch date with hopes that the bikes will still roll out in the fall. Members can ride for free when the bikes do hit the streets, and the annual membership clock won't begin to tick until the official launch in March. 

Chelsea Cox, community manager for SoBi Hamilton, shows off the type of two-wheeler that will be available to ride when the city's new bike share program rolls out this summer. (Cory Ruf/CBC)

"We are in the final stages of product certification and will be entering into full production in the coming weeks," said Social Bicycles' CEO and founder Ryan Rzepecki in a update Saturday. "This product update represents a significant upgrade to the user and operator experience and we are excited to begin rolling it out this fall."

The $1.6-million 750-bike project was approved in December 2013 and slated to roll out this summer. SoBi was brought on as the operator later on, and the company noted the spring launch will be less than a year after they signed on to run Hamilton's bike share.

Delays in the electronics, which under the SoBi bikes, and unlike bike shares in Toronto and Montreal, are primarily on the bike and not the docking station. SoBi has said the advantage is knowing, through GPS, where the bikes are going so they can respond and move their docking stations in response to use. 

Problems certifying those units with Canadian telecommunications companies has been pegged as the reason for the delay in the past, and in Saturday's update, too.

Downtown Hamiltonians will have noticed a number of new stations popping up around the city. Some even took to Twitter to post pictures of the new stations:

SoBi Hamilton noted March 20 will be the first day spring, and also announced an additional break for monthly memberships — a two for one deal giving riders one month free when the purchase their first month.