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Bike share program could soon hit Oshawa streets

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

A fleet of rental bikes may soon be hitting the streets of downtown Oshawa.

Following final approval from council on April 9, the City of Oshawa will be entering an agreement with Toronto-based start-up DropBike, for a two-year pilot project that will see bikes available for short-term rental around the downtown.

According to an initial staff report, the bikes will be offered from numerous locations around the downtown and users can rent the bikes from kiosks using a smart phone app.

“It really is a positive, it fits nicely into our active transportation master plan recommendations, getting people out of cars, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, getting more active modes of transport, that type of thing,” says Paul Ralph, the city’s commissioner of development services.

Ralph says the company had approached the city in February about the possibility of the pilot program. The two-year test will be fully funded by DropBike, including operation and maintenance costs.

Currently, DropBike has programs operating in Montreal, Toronto, Kingston and most recently launched in Kelowna.

Ralph says it was the city’s booming residntial growth and the trio of post-secondary institutions that may have attracted the company to Oshawa. He says there is potential to expand the length and size of the program as times goes on.

“They approached us to discuss the possibility of a pilot project for two years, just to assess demand and see if there’s a long-term need for this type of service in the Oshawa community,” Ralph says.

And Ralph notes the initial program will only include kiosks with bikes in the downtown, but there could be other fitting locations like Lakeview Park if the project expands into other areas of the city.