Golden’s failed Community Bike Share program has received a second life with the awarding of a 2015 contract to Higher Ground Mountain Sports.
The 15 bikes that were originally purchased in 2010 by the Town as part of its bike share program will now be available for rental at Higher Ground this spring and summer.
While the original program saw the establishment of two kiosks, one in Spirit Square and one at the campground, all rentals will now be done through Higher Ground at its downtown store.
It was Higher Ground owner David Gagnon’s idea to find a way to use the 15 dormant townie bicycles and his store was officially awarded the contract at Council’s May 5 meeting.
“I suggested that we, the store, could take over and make it manageable for us…and keep it super cheap…the other thing is the green side of it, to put people on bikes rather than having them drive their car,” Gagnon said.
“(For tourists) I think (bikes) are one of the best ways to discover town,” he added.
Higher Ground will pay the town $100 for the rental of the bikes for the summer and will be responsible for all maintenance costs. Their proposal included a low-cost rental price of $7 for a half day rental and $15 for a full day rental.
“My intention is not to make profits out of that, it’s really just to ensure that we can cover our costs for maintenance and parts,” Gagnon said.
The proposal was met favourably by Council and approved without opposition.
The original bike share began operation during the fall of 2010 and ran from May to October in 2011 and 2012 before funds for the project were re-allocated as part of the 2013 budget process due to escalating costs. The annual operation budget for the program was approximately $5,400 while annual revenues were roughly $1,700.
Town CAO Jon Wilsgard expressed that this year would serve as a test for the future of the bikes and that a successful program could lead the Town to seek a buyer for the bicycles.