Cancelling SoBi Bike Share
The SoBi Bike Share began in Hamilton in 2015 and has since grown to have over 26,000 members using almost 900 bicycles spread throughout the lower city as far east as Ottawa Street. There were plans to expand the reach of the program, but when Uber, the new owner of SoBi, cancelled the program prematurely, the future of SoBi was at risk. Council voted not to provide any funds to ensure the program continued amid the COVID 19 crisis, despite ridership having increased during the pandemic.
Council denies funding for Hamilton’s SoBi program, bikes to go into storage
KEN MANN GLOBAL NEWS
Posted May 28, 2020 8:16
Hamilton city council has denied a lifeline to the city’s bike share program as the current operator walks away from its contract this coming weekend. In an 8-8 vote early Thursday morning, council rejected Ward 3 Coun. Nrinder Nann’s motion to spend $400,000 in area-rating funds from three wards to maintain the system for the rest of this year.
SoBi users want the program to continue in Hamilton, no matter who runs it
‘We need to be mentally prepared that they’re simply going to walk away,’ one councillor says of Uber
Samantha Craggs · CBC News · Posted: May 21, 2020
Fans of Hamilton’s bike share program are banding together to try to keep it alive after Uber Inc. told the city it was pulling out as of June 1.
Cycle Hamilton has launched an online petition that’s gathered about 3,700 signatures since last night, says the non-profit’s co-chair, Jay Krause. The goal, he says, is to urge Uber to fulfil its contractual obligation to the city and operate the SoBi program until next February. After that, the group wants the city to insure the program’s survival regardless of who operates it.
Hamilton cyclists furious as city’s SoBi bike share network shuts down
City council has voted against saving the program after Uber unexpectedly pulled out of its contract
Hamilton is not having a good year for cycling. At a city council public works meeting in January, Hamilton city council stalled a move to add three blocks of bike lanes around a GO train station as councillors argued it would interfere with parking. Councillor Esther Pauls stated that when she goes downtown, she sees people “begging for money” on bike lanes, not using them as transportation. The same day Pauls also estimated that there are only about 100 cyclists in Hamilton. Although she later claimed she was referring to a specific area, her comment was regarded as ignorant by a number of Hamiltonians, including many of the 26,000 SoBi bike share program members.
SoBi for our city and our residents
Sun., May 31, 2020
My family and I moved to Hamilton last year from Oakville after rediscovering Hamilton after the vandalism on Locke Street. We came to support the businesses impacted by the vandalism and couldn’t believe how much Hamilton had changed for the better. In a sense, we came to visit Hamilton and ended up staying for good!
In my opinion, Hamilton has a bright future. Hamilton’s city council plays a massive role in shaping that future.
It is with this in mind that I was so disappointed watching last week’s meeting, especially the debate (if you want to call it that) around funding SoBi.
A SoBi deluge at Hamilton City Hall protesting end of bike share
Riders locked the bikes to forecourt hand rails and light standards
NEWS May 30, 2020 Hamilton Spectator
SoBi riders flooded Hamilton City Hall with bicycles Saturday protesting the end of the popular bike sharing network. Cyclists started arriving early afternoon, photographing themselves with locked bikes on forecourt hand rails and lamp posts. By dinner time Saturday nearly 100 bikes had been dropped off.
Hamilton Bike Share receives donations to save SoBi bikes
By kyle medeiros –
June 1, 2020, 8:50
Hamilton Bike Share Inc. (HBSI) sent a letter to city council last night asking permission to operate SoBi bikes for the next nine months using funding from donors, user fees, and an $100,000 gift from a charitable foundation.
SoBi was set to end today after city council voted not to save the ride share program last week. The decision had to be made after Uber, the company that operates SoBi, backed out of its contract to pay for the program through February, 2021. This left the city to pick up the remaining $400,000 tab to save the program. Council said the city did not have those funds and were unwilling to use taxpayer dollars.