Bikesharing service moves into high gear

If you’ve returned to campus from summer vacation and spotted a fleet of bright orange bikes around town, you might be wondering where they came from.

In July, Queen’s Physical Plant Services and the City of Kingston announced a deal with Toronto-based Dropbike, bringing 100 rental bikes and installing a number of drop-off points, called ‘havens’, across the city – including six spots on campus. To use the service, simply download the application for your Apple or Android device, register an account with Dropbike and provide a deposit, scan the bike’s QR code, and unlock the bike using a unique code that will be sent to your phone.  The cost to rent a bike is $1 per hour, though your first three rides are free. There is no cost to Queen’s University to host the drop-off points.

“We are pleased to support this new, cost effective, more sustainable way for our community members to get around Kingston,” says Donna Janiec, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration). “We are working to ensure preserve the long-term well-being of our campus community by decreasing the impact of our community on the environment, and working with Dropbike on this pilot project is one way we can make a difference.”

Since July, Kingstonians and tourists have taken 2,400 rides on the bright orange cycles – mainly short trips around the downtown and campus areas. Farnia Fekri, Dropbike’s Head of Communications, said the “amazing reception” was a pleasant surprise for the company, so in recent weeks they have added new havens and dropped off more bicycles.

“We knew a lot of people in Kingston wanted and needed a bikesharing option, but even we are constantly surprised by how successful our expansion to Kingston has been,” says Ms. Fekri. “The engagement with riders has been great, and we have received a number of positive comments. We are looking forward to having students interact with the bikes this fall, and our district manager will be joining the Queen’s community at the annual sidewalk sale to help spread the word.”

Among Dropbike’s team members is Afraj Gill (Comm’15), the company’s Vice President of Business Development and Government Relations who said, of the company’s expansion to Kingston, “A service like Dropbike would have saved me a lot of time and money in the four years that I spent in Kingston as a Queen's University undergrad.”

To learn more about Dropbike and to see the map of havens, visit dropbike.ca