SoBi is a popular rent-a-bike mode of public transportation with a number of pick-up and drop-off stations located around the city. A bombshell announcement last week from parent company Uber Inc. unexpectedly announced that SoBi will be ceasing operation in Hamilton as of June 1st.
Social Bicycle LLC (SoBi) had only just renewed their contract in February for another year. Uber cited business losses and challenges due to COVID-19 as a key reason for the shutdown.
Since it’s the City of Hamilton who actually owns the bikes, it will now be up to council to decide how the program will continue to run.
As the warm weather approaches and the desire to ride on public buses lessens, Hamiltonians have been vocal in their support of reinstating the service after June 1st.
— Urbanicity Hamilton (@urbanicityHAM) May 22, 2020
Bicyclist advocacy group Cycle Hamilton started a petition on May 19th to keep bike-sharing alive in the city. Cycle Hamilton states that SoBi had garnered 26,000 active members over its seven-year run time, equating to a collective 1.6 million rides and over 2 million kilometres traveled.
With these ridership numbers, plus the growing amount of cyclist lanes popping up downtown, it is apparent that there is a demand for the eco-friendly and low-cost mode of transportation. As residents become more conscious of physical distancing, this trend is sure to grow going forward.
To support social bicycling in Hamilton, sign the petition here.
6,856 individuals have signed the petition as of 9 am on May 26th.