I noticed new parking stalls being installed in the downtown for the bike share system, successor to BixiBike. I hope this system does better.
When in Florida a few months ago, I noticed this bike share network and thought it offered numerous advantages over the original bixi concept. Since the promoter of the Ottawa system is a Florida-based company, maybe they will turn out to be the same bikes. The racks certainly looked the same.
The most noticeable difference from the familiar Bixi system, is the simpler parking posts. Bikes are locked with a basic-looking U-lock, which you take with you, allowing the rider to park the bike anywhere, not just at official docking stations. This offers the user more flexibility. The parking stations were cleaner, less obtrusive users of valuable urban space.
The back of each bike had a solar power panel and on-board computer. You select a bike and rent that bike, no more renting from a central pilar and then “releasing” a bike.
Here’s a close up of the controller:
The rules for the system I looked at had a number of new features. I like tap-and-go simplicity. You make like some of these features, but even if it is the same supplier, features in Ottawa are likely to differ from these Florida ones:
If I read this correctly, users can find available bikes (presumably at central hubs or docking stations, or u-bolted to a no parking sign nearer you) via their cell phone. For smart phone users this could reduce aggravation. Essentially, the individual bikes become the object to find rather than a docking station.
It may be that the Ottawa offering is significantly different from the system shown above, and more or less similar to the bixi system of yore. And wouldn’t it be nice if I could carry one less card, by combing the tap and go feature with my Presto pass or even my credit card?
But however it works, and whatever it is, I look forward to seeing bike sharing in our city, and hopefully more than just in the downtown core.