Local bike share program proposed

AMS, SGPS partnered with City, public health and St. Lawrence College on plan

Bike Stations could be established downtown and near Queen’s, St. Lawrence College and Royal Military College campuses.
Bike Stations could be established downtown and near Queen’s, St. Lawrence College and Royal Military College campuses.
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Kingston could be joining the growing list of Canadian cities with bike share programs, if feedback to a recent proposal is positive.

The City of Kingston posted a survey in late September asking respondents how often they see themselves using a bike share program, among other questions. The survey will run until Oct. 29.

The city has partnered with Queen’s, St. Lawrence College and Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Public Health to propose the service, which would see stations set up downtown and near Queen’s, St. Lawrence College and the Royal Military College’s campuses.

Troy Sherman, AMS municipal affairs commissioner, and Ty Greene, commissioner of the environment and sustainability, began discussing the possibility of a bike share program over the summer. Upon bringing their idea to the City, they found that they too had been considering such a program.

Greene, PheKin ’13, said demand for more accessible means of transportation between main and West Campus was one of the driving forces behind the AMS’ interest in the project.

“The whole sort of idea of the bike share program came from students and what they want to see in terms of transportation infrastructure,” he said. “The main thing that’s pushing this project is student input and student need.”

According to an information report to the Environment, Infrastructure and Transportation Policies Committee, the capital costs of the project would amount to an initial $4,000 to $5,000 per bicycle (including racks, payment machines, etc.), with operating costs of $300 to $500 per bicycle annually. The report suggests that requests may be made to the City and to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, an advocacy group that represents Canadian municipalities, for funding.

Membership would be required for the proposed service. According to the report, for Queen’s and St. Lawrence College students, the service could be covered by student fees in the same way that rides on Kingston Transit buses are. Greene said the proposed membership fee for students hasn’t been set in stone and that such decisions could be made based off of future surveys or input.

He said he wants to be sure the AMS doesn’t make “these decisions and then students are saying we don’t want to be spending this money on this.”

In Toronto, bike share memberships — run through the BIXI bike program — costs $95 a year for the general public, and in Ottawa and Montreal it’s $80.50 per year, with monthly, weekly and daily memberships available. Sherman, ArtSci ’14, said because the proposal is in its preliminary stages, a potential date for implementation hasn’t been determined.

“If it’s overwhelmingly positive we can look at what we can accomplish in the short term, and then look at long term plans,” he said.

In Montreal, the membership fee covers 30-minute bike rides, while rides over 30 minutes incur minor additional fees.

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