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  #241  
Old Posted Nov 29, 2013, 12:37 AM
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  #242  
Old Posted Nov 29, 2013, 1:04 AM
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Can't wait to find out where the 65 stations will be located.
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  #243  
Old Posted Nov 29, 2013, 5:47 AM
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This is seriously awesome. I'm glad that Hamilton isn't getting caught up with Bixi but instead taking a more modern and minimalist approach.
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  #244  
Old Posted Nov 29, 2013, 1:17 PM
HillStreetBlues HillStreetBlues is offline
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 Bikes can be tracked for additional security to prevent theft.
They cite this as a benefit, but then do not refer to any possible legal implications of this. Maybe it’s outside of the purview of the report, but privacy concerns should at least get lip service.

I know I’m in a minority in Canada (probably most everywhere) in my belief that strong rules and guidelines about maintaining client privacy should be the usual default. I’m surprised, though, that the City would not even seem to recognize in passing the possible consequences of providing a service with tax dollars, that will require people’s personal information (I assume, to some extent), and then have the capability of monitoring their and the bicycle’s location for the sake of “security.”

At least some potential users will for various reasons be unsettled by the prospect of being tracked by GPS. Even with a cash or no-account option, it has implications.
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  #245  
Old Posted Nov 29, 2013, 2:54 PM
coalminecanary coalminecanary is offline
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Bixi has the same general capability - they know where you picked your bike up and where you left it. When you use presto, they know where you get on and off. If you drive your car, your plates are photographed all over the place, and police are allowed to pull you over just to "check up". If you are really concerned about a trip being monitored you always have the option to go by foot. And turn your cellphone off.

I don't think that the privacy issue should be ignored, but I also don't think it's a major part of the story either.
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  #246  
Old Posted Nov 29, 2013, 3:01 PM
coalminecanary coalminecanary is offline
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Originally Posted by CaptainKirk View Post
Can't wait to find out where the 65 stations will be located.
These stations will be little more than large, branded bike racks I think. The beauty of this system is that you can lock the bike up anywhere within the service area, even non-SoBi racks.

Sounds like a great fit for a city our size...

I'm really excited about this. We are going to see a lot more bikes on the road and some really great transportation network changes as a result.
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  #247  
Old Posted Nov 29, 2013, 3:49 PM
HillStreetBlues HillStreetBlues is offline
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Originally Posted by coalminecanary View Post
Bixi has the same general capability - they know where you picked your bike up and where you left it. When you use presto, they know where you get on and off. If you drive your car, your plates are photographed all over the place, and police are allowed to pull you over just to "check up". If you are really concerned about a trip being monitored you always have the option to go by foot. And turn your cellphone off.

I don't think that the privacy issue should be ignored, but I also don't think it's a major part of the story either.
Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that it’s a major part of the story. It’s just something that should be a consideration. But, in this report, it was ignored entirely, even though it is obvious that part of the plan has at least some privacy implications. It’s a small minority of people (it seems: that could be wrong) who will tend to consider privacy implications, which is why I bring it up.

That having been said, I don’t accept the argument that, because privacy is abused in a lot of areas of our lives, any new abuse of it is automatically acceptable. Presto should have an option of purchasing an anonymous card with cash; cameras capable of capturing number plates should only be used where they are justified based on a balance between security and privacy; and I do not believe that police officers are allowed to pull someone over to “check up”: they have to at least fabricate a reason. Neither is the argument “if you have nothing to hide, you shouldn’t be concerned” legitimate, to my mind. I might choose to rent a bike knowing my route between stations will be recorded, but I think the system designers should balance whatever benefit that gives against the invasion of privacy (I’m not trying to use this as a loaded term; that’s what it is, though maybe justified) it entails.
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  #248  
Old Posted Nov 30, 2013, 1:45 PM
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Back in the day.

Social Bikes: GPS-Tracked, Phone-Controlled Rides in NYC
(Wired, Charlie Sorrel, Aug 12 2010)

The Social Bicycle System (SoBi) turns bike-sharing on its head, and is set to test in New York City this fall. Instead of big, central base-stations from which the bikes must be taken and returned, the SoBi puts all the tech on the bike itself. Here’s how it works:

The service consists of three parts. First, the SoBi unit which clamps to the bike and contains a GPS unit, a cellular device and a honking-great lock. Second is the SoBi server, and third is you or, more specifically, your cellphone.

Once registered, you can use your phone to track down a bike on a map. This may be locked to a regular bike-rack or at a designated base-station (yup, there are base-stations, but you don’t have to use them). Once you find a bike, you unlock it with your phone and ride away. If you don’t have a smart enough phone, you can just punch an unlock code into the unit or unlock it via SMS.

Because of the GPS and cellular connectivity, the server can authorize you and also always know where the bikes are. It will also allow you to track yourself, totting up the calories you burn as you avoid the legendary NYC pot-holes.

The bikes have some extras. If your bike is broken, hit the “repair” button and the bike will be flagged for pick-up. And what if you pop into the liquor store and come out to find another SoBi user has already taken off on “your” bike? There’s a “hold” button. which gives you ten minutes after locking the bike before it goes live again.

SoBi founder Ryan Rzepecki says that the startup costs are a fraction of those using traditional infrastructure-based systems, like the Velib in Paris of Bicing in Barcelona. Rzepecki says that these cost around $3,000 to $4,000 per bike to set up. SoBi costs less than $1,000 per bike.



The GPS tracking data also appears to provide desire line visualizations to planners.

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Originally Posted by coalminecanary View Post
If you are really concerned about a trip being monitored you always have the option to go by foot. And turn your cellphone off.
And leave it at home, in the fridge.

Agreed with HSB. Not a major part of the story, but it is odd that the consideration is absent.
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Last edited by thistleclub; Nov 30, 2013 at 2:20 PM.
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  #249  
Old Posted Nov 30, 2013, 3:55 PM
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From a recent Public Works report on the Greenbelt Cycling Route (PW13087):

RECOMMENDATION: That City staff work with staff representing the Greenbelt Foundation to formalize the Greenbelt Route through Hamilton as identified in Appendix “A” to Report PW13087, based on approval received by the affected Ward Councillors.

....

FINANCIAL: The Greenbelt Foundation will provide the signage at no cost and the City’s annual Bike Route Capital Account will finance the installation of the signage and any minor improvements required on the route identified. These tasks are estimated to be twenty thousand dollars ($20,000). Some portions will be constructed as previously planned capital works, pending capital budget approval for the scheduled year.
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  #250  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2013, 5:17 AM
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Hamilton bike share program good to go for spring
The Hamilton Spectator
By: Molly Hayes

The wheels are turning to get a bike share program fully operational in Hamilton by spring.

With a report going to the public works committee on Monday, the city is in the final stage of securing a contract with Social Bicycles (SoBi) to begin installation of a public bike share program.

SoBi — a New York-based company — was the "successful proponent" of a request for proposals earlier this year.

While they are still a couple of signatures away from sealing the deal, public works general manager Gerry Davis says: "We were pleased with their bid and how they're going to operate."

The bike share program would put up to 65 bike stations (and up to 650 bikes) across the city for people to "rent" in advance or on the spot. You hop on a bike at one station (say, at McMaster) and ride until you reach your destination (say, Ottawa Street). There, you lock up the bike at that station for someone else to use.

"That's the beauty of bike share," says SoBi founder and CEO Ryan Rzepecki.

"Say you go to work in the morning by bike, and in the afternoon it starts to rain. Then you can use another mode of transportation to get home."

Unlike typical smart dock systems used by companies like BIXI Bikes, SoBi installs GPS technology on their bikes. Users can determine exactly how many bikes are available at each station, at any time, right from their phone.

The Hamilton contract would be SoBi's first outside the United States. They have five active systems in Tampa, Florida, Ketchum, Idaho, and Buffalo, NY.

As the deal is not officially finalized, Rzepecki could not say how much it would cost to use the bikes.

"We're not ready to comment on pricing just yet, but we would have options comparable to other bike share cities … we're also really interested in an affordable monthly option," Rzepecki says.

Annual memberships are common for bike share programs.

Rzepecki has a background in urban planning, and says bike share programs are sprouting up everywhere.

"You go to conferences now and every city is talking about it."

In 2007, he says, there were 25 bike share locations around the world, with 25,000 bikes. Today there are more than 500 cities with bike share programs, and over 500,000 bikes.

"That's growing every year," he says.

Justin Jones, an organizer of the YesWeCannon campaign, says the system will promote cycling "as a mode of transportation, not just recreation."

He said everyone he's talked to is excited about the program, which will help raise the profile of cycling overall in Hamilton — and, it's hoped, lead to more cycling infrastructure down the road.

The Hamilton system is being paid for with funds provided by Metrolinx through their Quick Wins program for transit projects, at a one-time capital cost of $1.6 million.

Under a five-year renewable contract, the report says the company "will assume all legal and financial liability with no additional legal or financial support from the city."

The city will not provide funds for operation of the system, the report says.

Additionally, the system "is intended to be run by a made-in-Hamilton not-for-profit group, managed by SoBi, but with a base of operations here," the report says.

Installation is scheduled for late March, and will be fully operational in April.

The information report will go to the committee on Monday.
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  #251  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2013, 1:23 PM
HillStreetBlues HillStreetBlues is offline
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Agreed with HSB. Not a major part of the story, but it is odd that the consideration is absent.
For those interested, the company’s privacy policy is here https://app.socialbicycles.com/privacy

Data which they collect are not anonymized, and are kept indefinitely. Of course, this means that they would in some circumstances be required to turn over your personal data to police if faced with a court order, and might do so anyway if requested. The City is entitled to it, of course. And they might give your demographic information (presumably not enough to identify you) along with your travel patterns to anyone who might find that interesting. If someone is concerned about privacy, this probably precludes participation- but everyone weighs this sort of thing themselves. I just think it’s important that consumers have the right information to make a full assessment.

Re: cell phones. I had read that taking the battery out is the thing to do, but apparently even that might not be enough according to your second article. Personally, depending on how often you do that, it seems that the purpose of owning a phone starts to be defeated…
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  #252  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2013, 5:03 PM
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Hamilton spending $1.6M on new bike share program

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilt...gram-1.2447817

City councillors have voted to spend $1.6 million to implement a new bike share program.

The money will buy as many as 650 bicycles and set up as many as 65 stations around the city for the new program, which allows Hamiltonians to borrow bikes and leave them at station near their destination.

A capital grant from Metrolinx will pay for the project, which will be operated by the American company Social Bicycles. This is the company’s first project in Canada. Toronto Ottawa and Montreal already have bike share programs.

“We’re the first city in Ontario to buy into this new model of bike share,” said Coun. Brian McHattie of Ward 1 at a public works committee meeting Monday, when councillors approved the pilot. “I’m looking forward to trying it in Hamilton.”

Social Bicycles operates bike share programs in Buffalo, Orlando and Hoboken, New Jersey. The money just buys the bicycles and stations. The operating cost will be covered by memberships and sponsorships Social Bicycles will attain for the program, said Peter Topalovic, the city’s project manager for transportation demand management.

Social Bicycles assumes all legal and financial liability, a staff report said. And if not enough people use the bike share program, staff said, the city will dismantle it and sell the bicycles.

“At the end of the day, if we can’t make our targets…we’ll get another provider or sell the bikes,” Topalovic said.

Councillors had some questions. Coun. Terry Whitehead of Ward 8 said even though the money comes from Metrolinx, it’s still taxpayer dollars. He’d rather see that money used to improve transit on the Mountain.

But it’s capital funding, so it can only be spent on capital projects, McHattie said. The city could buy a new bus with it, for example, but it couldn’t pay a driver.

Coun. Lloyd Ferguson of Ancaster said he felt “uneasy” hosting the first project of its kind of Hamilton.

“It is a lot of money,” he said.

He liked that bicycles have chips on them, which means if someone doesn’t return one, the city can “knock on their door and ask for it back.”

There will be bike share stations in Wards 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8 and 13, Topalovic said.
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  #253  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2013, 12:35 AM
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Ferguson is a construction guy so I'm sure he knows exactly how far $1.6 million goes when spent on road infrastructure. It's about 1% of our roads budget. This is tremendous bang for the buck.
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  #254  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2013, 2:52 PM
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Where were Whitehead and Ferguson's "concern" and "uneasiness" when we spent over two million dollars to replace the deck and pillar of an overpass at King/Kenilworth - an intersection that could have been serviced by a simple stoplight instead of a grade separated ramp system?

They sure have selective frugality
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  #255  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2013, 3:58 PM
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Another failure in the making.

If it is such a good idea then private financing for the project should have materialized instead of the taxpayers having to cough up the money. This will be a money pit just like the failed bike rental business in Toronto.
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  #256  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2013, 4:56 PM
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Another failure in the making.

If it is such a good idea then private financing for the project should have materialized instead of the taxpayers having to cough up the money. This will be a money pit just like the failed bike rental business in Toronto.
Meh, its Metrolinx's money which would have just been spent somewhere else in the province.
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  #257  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2013, 5:02 PM
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If it is such a good idea then private financing for the project should have materialized instead of the taxpayers having to cough up the money.
Could say the same about the Kenilworth overpass. Should have found a private company to rebuild the bridge and charge a toll. Then we'd see pretty quickily how many people actually deem the bridge a "necessary" part of our transportation system.
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  #258  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2013, 7:16 PM
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The project is designed to be revenue neutral after the initial capital investment. How many projects even attempt that? If it fails, that's more likely because it set the bar too high. We should be willing to spend at least a little on operating costs, considering how much further the money goes on cycling projects.

Nevertheless, other medium sized cities have bike share programs that pay for themselves. That is what gave staff the confidence to push this one. Bike sharing is still relatively new and sure there have been failures. But for once, this city has studied best practices elsewhere and really put its best foot forward.
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  #259  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2013, 7:20 PM
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Could say the same about the Kenilworth overpass. Should have found a private company to rebuild the bridge and charge a toll. Then we'd see pretty quickily how many people actually deem the bridge a "necessary" part of our transportation system.
Lets just face it, we are second class citizens unless we're burning gas. All those on foot or bike are simply expendable. That is the only sense that can be made of this double standard.
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  #260  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2013, 11:07 PM
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Meh, its Metrolinx's money which would have just been spent somewhere else in the province.
Metrolinx's money is our money.

I'm just wondering what demographic this type of service is designed to attract, and if that group is large enough and has the disposable income necessary to make the service 'revenue neutral' after the initial capital investment. I suspect subsequent 'capital investments' will be forthcoming.

I would have been happier if $1.6 mil went towards expanding the cycling lane network and more bike racks rather than buying 650 bikes so somebody can make money managing the program.
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