The companies behind dockless-bike and scooter-share programs that have proven both popular and problematic in major cities across the U.S. are expanding rapidly, and Vancouver is in their sights.
“Vancouver is kind of primed for this,” said Euwyn Poon, co-founder and president of bike- and scooter-share firm Spin, and a former Vancouver resident. “It’s a great urban mobility hub.”
Companies such as Spin, Lime and ofo have rented dockless bikes and e-bikes — which users can rent using apps on their phones and are GPS-enabled so they don’t need to be returned to docking stations at the end of a trip — for the past few years. Uber even recently acquired a dockless e-bike company called Jump.
However, dockless electric-scooter shares have exploded in number and popularity since Bird, a firm started by the first COO of ride-hailing company Lyft, launched a program in the U.S. in September 2017. Lime and Spin have joined in and spread thousands of scooters across U.S. cities.
Company spokesman Taylor Bennett said ofo, which began in China in 2014, is excited to expand north to Canada at some point and has Vancouver in mind.
“You do have the urban density that we’re looking for and it’s also just … the culture,” Bennett said. “Vancouver is a bike-friendly city. It’s one that I think recognizes the value of greener transportation solutions and more affordable and reliable ways to get around.”
Lime said it has no expansion plans to share for Vancouver at this time, and Bird said it couldn’t comment on future growth.
Vancouver currently has one bike-share program: Mobi by Shaw Go, which started in 2016 and has more than 1,400 bicycles and almost 150 solar-powered stations from Mount Pleasant to downtown, and is expanding. Mobi is owned and operated by Vancouver Bike Share Inc., and supported by the city.
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Source:: Vancouver Sun