BikeShare is no more. After six years of award-winning programming and service, the Community Bicycle Network‘s BikeShare program announced this morning that they will not be reopening next season. Turns out they were unable to secure the funding they needed.
This, despite the fact that the program has been a huge success. “In just five years,” explains Margaret Hastings-James, a CBN director, “the program has signed up over 2000 members, put 243 bikes on the road and established 16 community-based hubs that also serve as a very important outreach network.” Further, the program has received international accolades, including the Stockholm Award for Sustainable Development.
It was also relatively inexpensive. With annual operating costs around $90K, BikeShare gave great bang for your buck. (Assuming you can put a price tag on social justice issues like “access to transportation,” and environmental issues like “trying to keep this planet from killing us.”)
No one’s arguing that our city is awash in cash, but supporting BikeShare would have been a significant (yet small) strategic investment. The Mayor and many councillors said that addressing the threat of the climate crisis would be a priority this term. Failing to support BikeShare is a funny way of showing it.
And yet, there might still be some hope. The CBN will meet with BikeShare stakeholders early in the new year to discuss options. Maybe their savior will still appear. After all, you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone…
Photo of one of BikeShare’s yellow bikes near King & Jarvis from the very bike-obsessed photojunkie.