Kelowna looks to e-bike sharing

With Dropbike dropping out of the picture, the city is planning to pursue e-bike sharing instead

When it comes to bike share programs, Kelowna city hall says the future is electric.

City council has approved a permit program that will offer opportunities to companies that want to provide e-bikes—and e-scooters if approved by the province—to the public. And it says it has already has seen interest in its proposed program.

“A number of (e-bike share company) representatives flew to Kelowna last year to talk with us about it,” said Matt Worona, the city’s active transportation manager.

READ MORE: Dropbike has officially rolled into Kelowna

Worona told council Monday, most bike share programs are moving to e-bikes.

The city has an 18-month deal with Dropbike to provide peddle bicycles, but in light of Kelowna’s plans for a permit program to allow e-bikes, Dropbike has announced it is stopping its operation in the city. An estimated 35,000 rider paid $1 per hour to rent Dropbikes last year.

Worona said the permit program is separate from its pilot project deal with Dropbike

The Dropbike program, which proved popular last summer when it started, was not available over the winter.

READ MORE: Bike sharing program says farewell to Kelowna riders

As a result of its departure, it is unclear if there will be a bike share program offered in the city this summer.

But Worona said the new program could see permits offered as early as next week for operators who wan to start here this year.

The time, he said, will depend on the availability of the bikes.

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