New bike sharing initiative brings 100 bikes to Kingston

Toronto-based company Dropbike has expanded their program to Kingston and Queen’s

One of the many Dropbike bikes on Queen's campus.

In an effort to reduce the university’s carbon footprint, Queen’s and Kingston have both partnered with the Toronto bike-sharing company Dropbike.

According to their website, Dropbike operates through an app that allows users to locate one of their 100 bikes and receive a code to unlock it. Charging one dollar per hour, users can return their bike after use to Dropbike’s orange bike racks or posts – referred to as ‘havens’– that are marked on the app. Six of these are located on campus with the rest scattered throughout Kingston.   

The company, which launched this year, contacted Queen’s in early May regarding the possibility of expanding to include Kingston amongst its current users in Toronto.

Queen’s Physical Plant Services’ Sustainability Manager, Aaron Ball, told The Journal via email that Dropbike’s user methodology is hassle-free. Since anyone can pay for bike use on their phone and they are self-locking, they don’t require docking stations. 

Ball further elaborated that the program comes at no significant cost. The company facilitates the operation of the program, including registration and bike maintenance. They also ensure a ‘bike balance’ – meaning there’s an even number of bikes at each haven. 

The current implementation of the Dropbike program is a pilot – it will run until the end of October, whereupon the City will determine the process of a long-term partnership in collaboration with Queen’s, Ball explained. 

The Queen’s connection isn’t only present in the bikes themselves; Dropbike’s current Vice President of Business Development and Government Relations is former Queen’s student Afraj Gill, Comm ‘15. In an interview with the Queen’s Gazette, Gill said a service like Dropbike would’ve save him a lot of time and money during his undergrad. 

Ball told The Journal that in the two weeks since its launch, the app has already garnered 400 users in Kingston.

Ball also noted the positive environmental impact this program would have, writing that, “A bike share program is another opportunity and tool to promote low-carbon transportation by making options accessible and convenient.” 

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