City issues new Bike Share Request for Proposals: Deadlines approaching. Can Vancouver get a world-class system?

Public Bike Share in Vienna (left) and London (centre, right)

Public Bike Share in Vienna (left) and London (centre, right)

A new Request for Proposals for a Public Bike Share System has been issued by the City of Vancouver.

Bike Share Service AreaThe plans by the City for a Public Bike Share (PBS) have been in the works since 2009. The roll out of the PBS was in limbo after the City could not come to an agreement with the bike share vendor selected in 2013. The previous plans were to provide 1,500 bikes and 125 docking stations in the central area of the City. More details on the history of Vancouver PBS can be found in one of our previous posts: Bike share reset. City calls for a new round of proposals for Public Bike Share system (June 12, 2015).

The latest Request for Proposals (RFP) seeks to improve the PBS by placing value on innovative solutions. Bike share technology has progressed significantly over the last 4 years since the last round of proposals. As well, there’s a goal to minimize costs to the taxpayer and for the system to be self-sustaining in the long term. Other similar systems have often been dependent on sponsorship deals to finance a significant part of the on-going operations.

The RFP has a requirement for a “Helmet Solution” in order to comply with B.C. laws. In other words, some form of helmet rental will likely be required. The RFP is quite open-ended on a solution to the helmet requirement.

Helmet laws are often ignored

Helmet laws are often ignored

Potential proponents are encouraged to attend an information meeting on Friday, July 24th at 10:30am at City Hall. Those who wish to attend the meeting must submit a registration form by July 23, 2015 by 3pm. The RFP lists a number for a conference call, so it appears that interested parties can join the meeting remotely. The deadline for enquiries is listed as August 21st, while the closing time for the RFP is on August 31, 2015 at 3pm.

The overall area of the bike share system has been expanded. A Phase 2 stage would see an increase in the size of the “PBS to the area bounded by Macdonald Street, 16th Ave, and Commercial Drive”; the initial Phase I area is to be between Arbutus and Main Street, and north of 16th Avenue. The transit station at Commercial and Broadway is the busiest one in the entire network; should the City have also included it the Phase 1 of the PBS roll out?

Full details of the RFP are available on the City’s Supply Management website. The official media contact for the Bike Share Program is Jerry Dobrovolny, the Director of Transporation (contact details here).

A general overview of the principles of the PBS are outlined in the main RFP document:

2.2 Principles

(a) Economic
(i)  Long-term Financial Sustainability – the proposed PBS system should be financially self-sustainable in the long-term.
(ii)  Minimize Cost to Taxpayer – the proposed PBS system should minimize the usage of public funds and in-kind services to be provided by the City, if any.
(iii)  Risk Management – the proposed PBS system should minimize risk and liability exposure to the City, stakeholders and the public.
(iv)  Innovation – the proposed PBS system should develop and apply innovative solutions to achieve sustainable design, construction, service delivery, operations, and maintenance.
(v) Green economy – the proposed PBS system should support the development of a green economy in Vancouver, creating Green Jobs.

(b)  Community and Social
(i)  Non-competitive – the proposed PBS system should differ from and should not be in competition with the local bike rental industry.
(ii)  Accessibility and inclusivity – the proposed PBS system should be accessible to all, regardless of cycling ability or familiarity, PBS member or Casual User, language and cultural differences, and accommodates a wide range of physical differences (e.g., height, weight, etc.).
(iii)  Aesthetic value – the proposed PBS system should recognize heritage value and character, its appearance should be an important component of design, construction, maintenance and operation.
(iv)  Responsiveness – the proposed PBS system should be responsive, service oriented and able to meet its Users’ needs in a timely manner.
(v)  Community Development – the proposed PBS system should recognize and serve the needs of the community such as providing opportunities (e.g., training, employment, etc.) to disadvantaged groups or individuals, where possible.
(vi)  Health and Safety – the proposed PBS system should aim to protect the health and safety of its Users, the public, and its staff.

(c)  Environment

(i)  Environmental Stewardship – the proposed PBS system should aim to protect and enhance the environment and should be designed to have limited carbon emissions in the servicing of the system.
(ii)  Resource Conservation – the proposed PBS system should aim to pursue energy and resource conservation (i.e., reduce, reuse and recycle).

The City also released a relatively detailed population map as part of the RFP:

bike share residents map

Helmet laws are obeyed by some, but not all of the cyclists in Vancouver

Helmet laws are obeyed by some, but not all of the cyclists in Vancouver

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