In 2018, UBC entered into a license agreement with Dropbike, Canada’s first and only hub-based smart bike sharing and micro-mobility company, to deliver a public bike share system at the UBC Vancouver campus.
The pilot program will run through the Spring of 2019 with hundreds of bikes available to rent on campus via Dropbike’s smart phone app. The service will cover the entire UBC campus, including academic and neighbourhood areas. Dropbike, who has partnered with several campuses and cities across North America, was chosen following a competitive RFP process.
Dropbike is operating the system at no cost to the University. UBC Campus and Community Planning is administering the pilot with support from TransLink’s New Mobility Program.
How does Dropbike work?
- Visit Dropbike.co
- Download the dropbike app at App Store or Google Play
- Sign up for a plan
- Once you’ve located a bike, scan the QR code to unlock the bike and begin your trip
- For a dollar you can ride anywhere on campus for up to 60 minutes; monthly and longer-term plans are also available
July 23, 2018: Bike share comes to campus
May 31, 2018: UBC to pilot region’s first smart bike-share program with Dropbike
Frequently asked questions
Dropbike is Canada’s largest smart bike sharing company. They moved the technology of traditional bike sharing onto bikes and an app—creating a flexible network of smart bikes that can be locked anywhere a user would lock their own bike.
Dropbike equips all of their bikes with LTE and GPS technology. This enables Dropbike to know where every bike is and report stolen bikes to the authorities with exact GPS coordinates. Additionally, the bikes have non-standard bicycle parts, limiting their salvage value.
UBC negotiated a License Agreement with Dropbike to enable them to operate a bike share program on campus. This agreement details operational expectations and provisions aimed at minimizing negative impacts, managing risks, and maximizing the usefulness of the system. The agreement is in effect for 12 months and enables Dropbike to deploy a fleet of up to 200 bikes on opening day, with provisions for increasing this over time at UBC’s discretion.
- UBC’s License Agreement with Dropbike establishes strict requirements related to the use and parking of bike share bikes across campus.
- In addition to on-the-ground operational staff to rebalance bikes and respond to issues, Dropbike uses “havens” to help reduce bicycle clutter on campus. By placing regular havens within the service area, and using pricing incentives to encourage their use, Dropbike aims to ensure that a high proportion of trips end in a haven, increasing the likelihood of an attractive and orderly system.
- Dropbike will also have on-the-ground operational staff to rebalance bikes and deal with any issues that arise.
- UBC will continue to monitor the program and may limit the number of bikes and/or parking requirements as needed to ensure a manageable fleet size and avoid impacts to the public realm experience.
- UBC Vancouver has a diverse mix of academic facilities, a variety of housing types, and supportive services and amenities that generate a variety of cross-campus trips.
- UBC’s relatively large campus (over 400 hectares) and gentle topography makes cycling an ideal transportation mode for on-campus trips.
- With a daytime population of over 70,000 people and overnight population of over 20,000 people (student residents + neighbourhood residents), UBC has the critical mass of potential users needed to support an efficient and effective public bike share system.
UBC selected Dropbike through a competitive public RFP process that began in February 2018.
The one year License Agreement with Dropbike expires on May 31, 2019. As this date approaches UBC will evaluate the success of the pilot program and determine next steps.
- The bike share bikes can be ridden like any other bike on campus, however, people who want to bike at higher speeds are directed to stay out of the public realm areas and instead use parallel routes like East Mall, West Mall, Agronomy Road and Crescent Road to get around the campus quickly and avoid the high-traffic pedestrian areas. If users are happy to ride at slower speeds with pedestrians they can still use the public realm areas like Main Mall.
- Bikes cannot be left off campus. Additional charges may apply if users end their trip off campus, including within the UEL, Pacific Spirit Regional Park or City of Vancouver.
- No, bike lanes will not be put in on Main Mall. Along Main Mall there are dozens of crossing points with the different building entries and pathways, which creates conflict points between pedestrians and cyclists. Bike lanes work well on perimeter routes, like along the Sea Wall for example.
- Bike lanes support faster cycling speeds, which means in the event of a collision between a cyclist and a pedestrian the injury would be much higher. To avoid collisions cyclists and pedestrians should pay close attention to their surroundings and avoid risky behaviour like looking down at their cell phones while in motion.
Under BC Law users are required to wear a helmet while operating a bicycle on roadways. While helmets are not provided with each bike, users are encouraged to bring their own helmet. Helmets are available for purchase on campus at the UBC Bike Kitchen.