Marcella Bernardo | Email news tips to Marcella
Plans for a public bike share program in Vancouver are forging ahead, despite opposition from commercial bike rental companies.
Staff are reporting the total cost over ten years is expected to be about two-million dollars, but similar programs in other cities have failed, with taxpayers forced to bail out private contractors.
Two companies have been shortlisted to set up 15-hundred bikes at 125 stations across the city.
Local operators Joe Kainer of English Bay Bike Rentals and Geoff Sharein of Spokes are worried their business will suffer, saying city staff have never consulted them.
Another key challenge is ensuring participants in the public bike share wear mandatory helmets.
NPA councillor George Affleck, meanwhile, accuses the Vision government of making a rookie mistake when it comes to setting up a public bike share program.
He says he was shocked to learn local bike-rental companies were not consulted about plans to set up 1,500 bikes across the city.
"Businesses are going to be significantly impacted and it's a concern."
Affleck also suspects the cost will be much higher than the $2-million price tag reported by staff.
"Vancouver doesn't run transit systems. That's Translink's job. So we're setting up our private system that clearly is not profitable in any markets that they could indicate and will be subsidized heavily, so it's a public/private partnership that will cost a lot of money."
Council is expected to choose one of two shortlisted contractors this fall.