The Township of Langley could soon join a growing list municipalities that offer bike share services.
A pilot program is being proposed by the Fort Langley Business Improvement Association for Fort Langley and Trinity Western University.
If approved, the BIA would set up 100 bikes at four locations — three in Fort Langley and one at TWU — that can be rented through a smart phone app.
“The BIA and Trinity Western are very excited to bring this pilot project to Fort Langley as quickly as possible,” said Gareth Abreo, who spoke to Township council on behalf of the Fort Langley BIA on June 25.
“This is a program that we just don’t want to see in Fort Langley (only), this is something we want to see expanded across the Township of Langley. But Fort Langley is the perfect place to pilot this project.”
As part of his delegation, Abreo invited representatives from company U-bicycle to showcase how the bikes work.
U-bicycle currently operates a fleet of 500 bikes on Vancouver Island across seven municipalities and three university campuses.
Each U-bicycle rental comes with a helmet, headlight and basket. The technology is located in the bikes, and users can unlock them by scanning a QR code. GPS tracks the location of the bikes in case they are stolen.
The app is free to download, and rentals are available to riders aged 18 and older. Users can pay for the rental either as they go, or through an annual pass.
Abreo said the BIA is hoping to partner with the Township of Langley and work with staff to figure out the best locations for bike racks, how bike parking will work, and other specifics.
He estimates the cost to launch 100 bikes in Fort Langley would be under $30,000, and half of that money could be recuperated through membership fees.
“We’re very ambitious, I know staff are extremely busy all the time, but we would really like to see this project come to life as quickly as possible,” Abreo said.
“And the Fort Langley BIA and Trinity Western are willing to step up to the table with funds to make this a reality.
“This could be a real way to connect our communities without the use of cars.”
Several councillors showed enthusiasm for the program and council voted unanimously to send Abreo’s delegation to staff for follow-up.
NOTE: An earlier version of this article stated the Fort Langley BIA has partnered with U-bicycle. This is not the case. U-bicycle is one of several providers the BIA is looking into. The BIA invited U-bicycle to present to council to showcase the type of technology the bikes offer.