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Toronto Bike Share

WislaHD

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Wasn't even aware that SoBi came under Uber control.

This is a great example though of why I am so skeptical of big tech entering housing and transportation (such as with Sidewalk/Google at Quayside). They can enter a market with intention to disrupt, then decide to exit the market at their convenience, leaving the public to pick up the tab.

I guess Hamilton should be happy that at least Uber did not leave behind proprietary infrastructure.
 
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cytor

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Oh this is sad. I wasn't aware that the system was being run by a private company. Makes me want to research if Bike Share is also in a similar agreement. We can't afford to lose the system especially now. (Also hi, first post here ? )
 

Admiral Beez

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apparently ridership is down by about 50% over last year, which isn't as bad as I would have expected. A lot probably has to do with the expansion and the fact that if it wasn't for COVID ridership would likely have been way up this year.
I’m riding the bicycle a lot during Covid19, just with nowhere to go I’m just taking my own bicycle instead of the Bikeshare. I wonder how many Covid19 Bikeshare rides are just big circles.
 

W. K. Lis

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From the Hamilton Spectator...

Uber-owned SoBi to stop running popular bicycle ride-sharing service in Hamilton

From link.

Uber-owned SoBi Hamilton will stop running the popular bike-share service in June because of COVID-19.

The surprise announcement comes after council recently renewed the operating contract and could leave 26,000 local SoBi bicycle users without a rental ride just weeks from now.

The city learned of the ride-hailing giant’s unilateral plan to “shut down” SoBi Hamilton operations Friday. Planning general manager Jason Thorne told councillors in a weekend memo the city plans to contact SoBi and Uber “seeking clarification on their position and reminding them of their contractual obligations to the city.”

In a letter from Social Bicycles, general manager Bill Knapp told the city Uber has off-loaded many of its foot-powered services to another company, Lime. And thanks to COVID-19, “we have made the very difficult decision to shut down all remaining bike and scooter operations,” he said, including in Hamilton.
A spokesperson for Uber, which recently announced 3,700 layoffs worldwide due to pandemic business losses, said via email the company is “disappointed to be sharing this news and are engaging with (Hamilton) officials to discuss transition.”

The decision was a “surprise” to the city because council recently approved a contract extension through February 2021, said transportation planning director Brian Hollingworth. He noted even during the first months of the pandemic, another 300 riders signed up for SoBi memberships.

“It’s just the worst timing,” said downtown Coun. Jason Farr, who noted the city is working on a pandemic “mobility plan” to help residents get around safely as the city emerges from COVID-19 lockdown.

“I would expect demand is going to increase for what is already a popular, well-used (bike-share) service,” he said.

An update going to council Wednesday suggests it could cost $700,000 a year to run the service or pay a different operator. Council is already struggling with a pandemic deficit that could balloon to $60 million by the end of July.
The bike share program started in 2015 using a Metrolinx grant to allow the city to buy the distinctive blue bikes and rental hubs set up through the lower city.

The city owns the bike infrastructure, but a Social Bicycles subcontractor runs the system — collecting rental and membership fees but also paying staff to move and repair the 900 bikes, respond to customers and update software. The report to council acknowledges the system “does not generate net profits.”

The bike-share company rebranded as Jump in 2018, just months before being purchased by Uber. SoBi also parted ways last year with the local nonprofit originally subcontracted to run the system.
ome founders of the original group, Hamilton Bike Share, are still involved with efforts to provide affordable SoBi passes to low-income residents via the cycling equity initiative everyonerides.org.
Until the latest crisis, the city had been studying expanding bike share to the east end and onto the Mountain.

News that the popular program is in jeopardy spurred outrage and calls for a city takeover.

In response to questions at a COVID-19 news conference, Mayor Fred Eisenberger said he believes “we’re going to find a way” to keep bike share alive. Online, Coun. Nrinder Nann called on Uber to “honour your contract,” while Environment Hamilton suggested the bike-share program should be publicly run.
 

max

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Oh this is sad. I wasn't aware that the system was being run by a private company. Makes me want to research if Bike Share is also in a similar agreement. We can't afford to lose the system especially now. (Also hi, first post here ? )
Operations of the system have been contracted out since the Toronto Parking Authority takeover from the Public Bike System Company in 2014. First it was Alta Bicycle Share (AKA Motivate) and currently Shift Transit.
 

downtownordinary

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Wasn't even aware that SoBi came under Uber control.

This is a great example though of why I am so skeptical of big tech entering housing and transportation (such as with Sidewalk/Google at Quayside). They can enter a market with intention to disrupt, then decide to exit the market at their convenience, leaving the public to pick up the tab.

I guess Hamilton should be happy that at least Uber did not leave behind proprietary infrastructure.
I am equally skeptical for the same reasons. The one I'm watching to see the other shoe drop on is the Innisfil Uber Transit experiment. It already got too popular that it was costing more than anticipated. I will be surprised if it can continue to run long term. (sorry for going off topic)
 

innsertnamehere

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^Thats the same model as in Hamilton, it was a contract. The city owns all the bikes.

Hamilton will have to find a new contractor. The problem is if they can find one in a few weeks.
 

Amare

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Between Hamilton, London, and Toronto, I honestly dont know which one of these cities has the largest group of idiot city councillors in the country anymore. Just when I think one city clearly takes the lead, the other says "hold my drink".
 

urbanyimby

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Between Hamilton, London, and Toronto, I honestly dont know which one of these cities has the largest group of idiot city councillors in the country anymore. Just when I think one city clearly takes the lead, the other says "hold my drink".
Don't forget that city councillors are elected by its citizens. That tells you something about the people living in those cities.
 

WislaHD

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Between Hamilton, London, and Toronto, I honestly dont know which one of these cities has the largest group of idiot city councillors in the country anymore. Just when I think one city clearly takes the lead, the other says "hold my drink".
Brampton.
 

innsertnamehere

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Toronto is honestly much better than it used to be. Seems near-competent now.

Hamilton has long struggled with meeting that target. The amount of petty politics that goes on in the city is ridiculous.
 

jje1000

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