RICHMOND (NEWS 1130) – The failure of an agreement that was to bring a bike share system to Vancouver, could translate into a business opportunity for a local company.
It wouldn’t be the first time SandVault Group Global Solutions expressed an interest in building a system for Vancouver.
SandVault, based in Richmond, put in a bid to provide the City of Vancouver its new bike system back in 2011, but didn’t win.
It’s a company that has worked to install systems in Miami Beach, Oklahoma City, and Tulsa.
Company owner Rick Murray says they’re interested in making a second run at it.
“We will definitely be looking at it. I’m pleased the city is taking another look at the technologies. Hopefully we’ll be able to convince them that there are benefits that come with dealing with local suppliers,” he explains.
In 2013, the City of Vancouver chose Alta to run the system, and Bixi to provide the bikes. Bixi went on to file for bankruptcy, and was restructured. The city awaited to see solid business plans from both companies before proceeding, before pulling the plug on the two on Thursday.
Murray says the delay might be to the city’s advantage, as bike share technology has improved in the last few years.
“There have been a number of modifications: some to create lower cost docking systems; others to create, smarter bicycles. It is possible to operate without standard docking technologies these days.”
A bike share system allows members to sign out bikes, much like car sharing systems work with cars. Members can take a bike out at one location then drop if off at another.
Vancouver wanted to launch the system with 1,500 bikes.
An ongoing concern about a local bike share system was how it is going to work with BC laws that require riders to wear helmets.
Murray believes it would be too onerous for the operator to rent out helmets, then have to clean each one of them between riders. He is in favour of rescinding helmet requirements for members of the bike share system, or some way to provide low cost new helmets at the bike stations.