Thanks to an energetic GoFundMe campaign that raised $60,000 and a $100,000 donation from the Patrick J McNally Foundation, it looks like there is a temporary solution to Hamilton’s bike-sharing plan. Hamilton Bike Share, who for years operated the program until Uber replaced them, have submitted a proposal to council to resume operation of the system. The proposal would see Hamilton Bike Share providing $400,000 to keep the system operating at a cost of $44,000 per month.
Chelsea Cox, the Executive Director of Hamilton Bike Share told the Bay Observer that the Bike Share system is essential to her organization, which, since it lost the SoBi contract, has been operating a program, Everyone Rides, that provides free bike share passes to people in need. “Everyone needs access to transportation,” Ms. Cox said. “Without a bike share plan, we would be at risk of losing a $700,000 grant from the Trillium Foundation.” In addition to the GoFundMe and McNally contributions, there will be roughly $140,000 in user fees and another $100,000 described as “Confirmed Funders/Sponsors – partnering businesses.” Ms. Cox declined to identify those sponsors.
The proposal recognizes the City may still wish to find a long-term operator for the system.” Right now, we just want to ensure the system continues to operate for the people of Hamilton who rely on the system as an essential mode of transportation, including our Everyone Rides Initiative members, and ensure that our Ontario Trillium Foundation grant is not lost.”
Councillor Jason Farr who supported last week’s motion that would have seen Area Rating money supporting the bike-share program, approached the McNally foundation to secure the $100,000 grant. The motion which will go before council this week is being co-sponsored by Councillors Sam Merulla and Chad Collins who both opposed last week’s taxpayer-funded bailout, so passage of the plan looks pretty certain.