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Could be all or nothing this summer for bike sharing in Kelowna

The weather in the Okanagan has finally turned towards spring and residents are beginning to ask about the return of Dropbike.

Last summer, there were more than 33,000 rides from 9,000 unique users on 331 bikes in Kelowna.

That works out to a new rider every 14 minutes.

<who> Photo Credit: City of Kelowna. </who> A heat map tracking the first 30 days of bikeshare data shows heavy use along the waterfron and downtown areas.

However, according to active transport coordinator Matt Worona, Kelowna may not see those same orange and white bikes this summer.

While Dropbike is free to re-launch its service any day it decides, the company has yet to do so, possibly due to some lingering tension over Kelowna’s desire to expand its bike sharing program.

The city is currently building regulations for a permit process that will open the door for a variety of bike sharing business models and companies.

That means Kelowna could one day be serviced by Uber e-bikes or Lime e-scooters.

“Dropbike has indicated they are not super happy with the direction we are going, they'd like to see themselves be the only company in the Kelowna marketplace,” explained Worona.

“We have yet to get any indication as to what is happening with the fleet for the summer.”

While residents and tourists alike may be upset to hear they won’t be hopping on a Dropbike in the immediate future, opening the door to more competition means improved service in the long run.

“We're trying to push ahead with what we think the future will hold,” said Worona.

“There's a wide variety of things that other companies are doing and we're just trying to get the best bang for the buck.”

Worona is expected to present the updated bike report to city council sometime next month.

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