A new method of sustainable transport will soon be available in Hamilton!
Through capital funding provided by Metrolinx, Hamilton has partnered with Social Bicycles to bring a new BikeShare program to the city. While this was announced last year, details are constantly being added as the “early summer” launch date approaches.
Here’s what has been confirmed:
- Approximately 750 bicycles will be available at 80 stations across the city
- Social Bicycles is completely managing the program, therefore there is no financial risk to the city
- The cost structure will likely be an annual membership fee, which allows users an unlimited number of 30-minute rides between stations. For rides over 30 minutes, additional fees apply
- Bikes will be equipped with GPS units so users can find out which stations have bikes available. A free app can be used to reserve bicycles ahead of time
While exact locations are still yet to be determined, here’s a potential map of what the station layout could look like (provided from an article in Raise The Hammer):
So how far does a 30-minute ride get you? I asked myself that question to figure out how much of the city a rider could cross without incurring extra charges. Here’s some example routes:
- McMaster University to Hamilton GO Centre: 6km, 22mins
- Dundas (downtown) to Chedoke Civic Golf Course: 5.5km, 19mins
- Jackson Square to Princess Point: 4.5km, 18 mins
What does this mean for Hamilton’s residents? It means an alternative method of competing short trips, which might have needed a car for otherwise. Bikes aren’t constrained to routes like buses are, so in many cases cycling can get you to your destination more easily than the bus system. Not only that, but cycling is a great form of exercise! At a moderate pace, an average rider can burn about 300 calories.
I’m optimistic that this program will prove successful in Hamilton, just as it has for many other cities. Paris, France, for example, has an average daily ridership of 85,811 in 2011 in its BikeShare program. Positive results from the Hamilton BikeShare will also pressure the city to build more bicycle-friendly infrastructure, such as bike lanes along the entire length of Cannon Street. This, in turn, will encourage more people to cycle, causing a chain reaction of ridership increase.