SoBi or not SoBi

There has been a lot of buzz this week with regards to Uber wanting to cancel their contract to manage our SoBi bike network. Councill will be discussing this issue at today’s meeting.

There have been some great discussions this past week on this topic from Coffeee with your councilor (Councillor Nann via Zoom), Councillor Wilson on Twitter, and on sites like Raise the Hammer.

Here is a little about what we have learned this week:

  • Hamilton owns the bicycles and supporting infrastructure
  • Uber is under contract until 2021
  • 26,000 Hamiltonians use the SoBi bike share program
  • 600 new users have signed up for SoBi since the COVID-19 pandemic began

A few tidbits about SoBi:

  • $5.40/hour to rent a bike
  • $15/month rental cost with 90 minutes of riding per day
  • 9 SoBi stations in Crown Point (unfortunately none in the Ward 4 boundary area of Crown Point)
  • 825 smart bikes across 20 square km’s of Hamilton
  • online map shows live availability at all mapped stations including bikes not in a hub.
Map showing Sobi bike racks (9) within Crown Point

Ward 3 councillor Nrinder Nann‘s motion for today’s meeting asks council to consider that if Uber will not honour their contract, that the City of Hamilton take over interim management of the existing network using area ratings from Wards 1, 2 and 3, and that Hamilton take the necessary steps to recover the costs (and damages) of operating the SoBi network. Councillor Nann also asks staff to initiatiate a competitive procurement process to find a new group to manage this infrastructure and to report back by the end of 2020.

Here is a link to the full text of Councilor Nann’s motion, which is item 7.2 in today’s agenda.

Within the agenda, you’ll also find a 5 page letter from Cycle Hamilton.

Here is the live link to today’s council meeting which started at 9:30am.

I’ll end by providing a link to great piece by former Ward 2 council candidate, Cameron Kroetsch on

Snapshot of Cameron’s article on

Below are a few quotes from Cameron’s article:

Governments are willing to put up these subsidies because of the social, economic, and environmental benefits that public transportation generates more broadly. While individual systems, viewed in isolation, might not be financially successful, the immaterial benefits are off the charts. The environmental case for shifting our modal split becomes profound the minute we start thinking about positive impacts to our health and the health of our planet.

All transportation infrastructure loses money, and that’s OK

… using bicycles has been touted as a potentially safer way to get around while keeping a physical distance from one another and bike riding has hit its stride during the spread of COVID-19.

Cities like Brampton, Vancouver, Oakland, and Toronto are making dedicated space for additional cycling infrastructure and prioritizing multimodal transportation.

… the Mayor of London (UK) has been very vocal recently about the importance of multimodal transit options, … “it will take a monumental effort from all Londoners to maintain safe social distancing on public transport as lockdown restrictions are gradually eased”

The pandemic is a time for bikes

Please also note the comment from Ryan on this article, highlighting some important figures to consider alongside this discussion.

Cameron also tables some possible solutions to Council’s dilemma in his piece. Thank you for your valuable contribution to critical Hamilton discussions, Cameron, and to Raise the Hammer for providing a space for these vital conversations.

EDIT: I also wanted to share the link to the petition to save our bike share. It now has 7,282 signatures and climbing as I type this.

And that’s The Point.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Drop us a line at

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