Bike Shares in the Community

This month we have been discussing active transportation and looked into barriers that keep individuals from engaging in active transportation.  This got me thinking about my own situation to see  where I could make some changes. Now I don’t own a car, so most of my transportation needs are met with a combination of public transit and walking. Due to the recent loss of a bus pass and the change in seasons, I decided to start thinking more about active transportation and biking when I want to do simple errands instead of paying for bus tickets. I don’t currently own a bike as the building I live in does not have space to store or lock bikes outside. As much as I love working out, carrying a bicycle up 3 flights of stairs every time I decide to bike somewhere is just not appealing to me. So I decided to looking into a bike share, so that I could simply get a bike when I needed it while avoiding the hassle of actually owning one.

Bike Share Programs are Becoming Increasingly Common

Bike share programs are becoming a common sight around the world, and even a few in Canada. Montreal has the BIXI system, Toronto has the Bike Share Toronto program, Ottawa has Right Bike and VeloGo. In Waterloo, The Working Centre operates the Community Access Bikeshare program. Grand River Public Bike Share will also be launching in the Waterloo region soon. One advantage to a bike share is convenience, you can hop on a bus and then take the bike for the last leg of your journey. Another key advantage is affordability, with some bike share programs you only pay for what you use, so if it happens to be a season where you can not ride your bike at all, you won’t be paying as much.

The 10 Rules and Bike Shares

Bike share programs have a lot of opportunity to use the 10 Rules of Social Marketing to increase adoption of their services. For instance, they can apply Rule 2 to better determine their target audience. Rule 5 can also be applied similar to how Community Carshare includes public commitments. Some bike share programs such as SoBi in Hamilton, use gamification strategies to reward users with credits when they return their bicycles to the proper stations. Each program is different and as such applies different rules in their program already so it would really take a more thorough analysis of each program to determine which rules are being applied.

Community Access Bike Share

As stated earlier, in Waterloo you can join CAB. Partners with CAB include BikeKitchener.ca, the cities of Waterloo and Kitchener, and the Region of Waterloo. These are all aligned with Rule 4 as these partner organizations help keep the program authentic. The program also uses Rule 1 as it is entirely action oriented, and members only need their membership card and PIN to access the bicycles at stations, they do not require fancy applications on their smartphones.


Between the public transit, car share and now bike share options available in Waterloo, it is becoming easier to justify postponing my purchase of a car. I hope that others can also use these services to ditch their own cars. How do you plan on getting around this summer? Leave your responses in the comments below!

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