Vancouver bike-share program Mobi now accessible to select cyclists

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      Vancouver’s long awaited public bike-share program, Mobi (pronounced moe-bee), has begun a soft launch across the city.

      Starting today (July 20), Vancouverites who sprung on discounted one-year Mobi memberships—which became available online following the system’s unveiling in May—can access more than 250 bikes across 23 docking stations.

      Active docking stations are currently mapped on Mobi’s website, with more to be added within the next month. The majority of stations currently in operation are located within the downtown core. Many are also situated near landmarks such as Canada Place and Science World.

      “There were 1,300 sites proposed by the public earlier this year,” Scott Edwards, the City of Vancouver’s manager of bike-share, tells the Straight by phone, “and we’re working to infill stations over the next number of weeks.”

      The city notes that a Mobi application for smartphones will soon be available, which members can use on the go to find the nearest available bikes and docking stations.

      Mobi’s designated cycling zone covers the Downtown Peninsula, and is bounded by Arbutus Street, 16th Avenue, and Main Street. Edwards hopes to at least double the number of stations available by the end of August, when the Mobi system will open to the general public.

      He notes that this soft launch will also serve as a troubleshooting period for both the city and operator CycleHop to determine when and where the bicycles are most often being used.

      “We want to make sure that people have a good experience, and understand where additional bikes or docks are needed,” he says. “This is the time for us to work that out.”

      All Mobi bikes come equipped with locks and helmets. Founding memberships for Mobi will be available online until July 31, and are $99 for one year of unlimited 30-minute rides or $129 for a one year of unlimited 60-minute rides.

      These prices represent a discount of 50 percent off the regular price memberships. Additional passes, for unlimited one-day use, for example, will be available once the program officially rolls out to the general public.

      Follow Lucy Lau on Twitter @lucylau.