Vancouver to get bike share this summer, with helmets

The City of Vancouver has selected Smove, a French company—whose bikes are pictured here—to manufacture the equipment

Plus, the B.C. NDP wants Hydro to track temporary foreign workers at Site C and Vancouver tops another list

Easy riders
After eight years of hunting for a suitable partner, bike share is coming to Vancouver. On Tuesday, the city announced that it had signed a five-year contract with CycleHop to roll out a system of 1,500 bikes across the downtown peninsula, Kitsilano and Fairview. The city expects to launch the service on June 15, and have it fully up and running by mid-July.

As part of the deal, the city will pay $5 million to launch the program—or around $3,300 per bike—and then $500,000 a year to run the program (the city will get back $400,000 per year in rent from the operator). The bikes themselves will come from Smove, a French manufacturer who has made bikes for systems in Bangkok and Moscow, and the bikes will come with helmets. CycleHop, which won the contract to operate the system, is a 15-year veteran of the bike-share space, with systems in Orlando, Atlanta, the Los Angeles area and Ottawa. When contacted on Tuesday, CEO Josh Squire declined to comment, saying that more details would be revealed at a press conference with the city on Wednesday.

The City of Vancouver has spent the last eight years looking at proposals for a public bike-share system that would groove with municipal and provincial helmet rules—and for a partner who was both solvent and willing to meet the city’s sponsorship rules. In the summer of 2013, council announced that it had selected a partner, the vendor Alta, in a deal that would cost the city $6 million to launch, and $500,000 per year to run thereafter. That deal was scrapped in early 2105 after Alta was taken over by another vendor, Motivate, which ultimately did not meet the city’s conditions. A new search was launched last summer.

Dam workers
The B.C. NDP is alleging that BC Hydro is avoiding the question of whether temporary foreign workers will be working at Site C because it won’t be tracking them. The issue flared up in January when one Site C contractor posted a job for an HR manager, stating the job would include processing documents for temporary foreign workers. In comments to reporters, energy minister Bill Bennett estimated that 70 to 75 per cent of the 600 workers currently at the site were British Columbians. (The Globe and Mail)

List space
Surprise, surprise: Vancouver has ranked fifth in the world in a list of global cities by quality of living, released Tuesday by HR consultancy Mercer. The 2016 index looks at such factors as political stability, crime, banking services, extent of personal freedoms, the medical system, public transport, and housing. The city placed fifth last year as well. Curious as to who else made the list? Read on.

1) Vienna
2) Zurich
3) Auckland
4) Munich
5) Vancouver

And further down the list:

15) Toronto
17) Ottawa
23) Montreal
28) San Francisco
32) Calgary