The immediate future of bike-sharing in Kelowna is up in the air.
Dropbike was a big hit in Kelowna last year, but it may have been a one-hit wonder. With May looming on the calendar there is still no sign of the orange bikes that populated the downtown last year, and it turns out we may never see them again.
Most observers would agree that the Dropbike pilot project worked well in Kelowna with 33 thousand rides taken. Under the existing contract, Dropbike could resume the service at any time, but so far there's no sign of the bikes.
"What we're seeing right now," said Active Transportation Coordinator Matt Worona, "by us moving in the direction of having multiple operators, them just having a bit of hesitation."
"I think they'd like to see something that has them the only operator in the market," he added. "But we're not as interested in that." Worona said he and his staff are trying to remain open to all possibilities.
"Because we've seen a lot of changes. A lot of different kinds of operators. People like Uber and Lift are actually bikeshare operators now so it really changes the game. When there are more companies to choose from, they're delivering a wider variety of things."
Worona believes there is still time to bring in another operator if things don't work out with Dropbike. But for now, whether or not there will be bike sharing in Kelowna this summer is unclear.
"The hope is yes," said Worona, "but we really don't know."