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LETTER: City should have spent bike cash on the HSR

In March I wrote about my concerns about Social Bicycle and their 750 bike, 105 bike-rack system proposed for downtown Hamilton.
Fast forward to today and you will see that not a single SoBi bicycle has been deployed — and won’t be until at least September.
City hall originally proclaimed the system would be rolled out in spring of this year.
Over the last few weeks I have been posing questions to the limited number of SoBi bike-share rental systems in the United Stated in order to gauge the viability of this “new” bike-share system and technology.
Most of the systems that are actually up and running, and not in the planning stages, are small pilot projects, some having only 25 bikes.
SoBi Hamilton apparently has a costed-out business plan, but it has never been made public.
City staff have done some estimations and found that a 750 bike system would need at least 4,500 annual members and about 15,000 casual users to make the system viable.
When I asked SoBi Hamilton how many memberships they have sold in Hamilton to date, they refused to say. One can only assume their membership sales have not met the target set in their secret business plan.
Who would run a bike rental business this way?
The $1.6 million invested could have been used to improve our HSR, instead of giving them competition. A bus ride is cheaper than renting a bike.
Mark-Alan Whittle
Hamilton Mountain

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