UBC Vancouver Dropbike

UBC’s Dropbike is in operation at the Point Grey campus. You can see the bright orange and white bikes rolling by here and there.

It’s a newer generation of bike-share tech that doesn’t require a fixed dock.  The security, electronics and communications are self-contained.  The bikes are meant to be dropped at existing racks, or at specified drop zones around the campus.

The system is now very small at 150 bikes, as befits it’s startup mode. It should eventually get much larger, since it’s serving a potential user group of over 40,000 people travelling around the 4 sq. km. Point Grey campus. Apparently, UBC has no financial stake in Dropbike, but is participating closely in managing the roll-out to ensure it becomes an attractive and orderly system. No masses of unused bikes will flood Point Grey, as we have seen in some cities in China. Not going to happen.

Rides cost $1 for 60 minutes.  Bring your own helmet.

The bike’s design is familiar.  Step-through frame, adjustable seat, 3-speed hub gears, rear hub brake, solid puncture-proof tires, on-line communications (probably via GPRS, a sub-set of cell network data services). Some things are different from, say, Mobi — on-board GPS, solar panels in both front carrier and rear light, front light rim generator, on-board lock, on-board flimsy rack-attach cable and QR code unlock electronics.

A customer uses Dropbike’s smartphone app to find a bike, and unlock it by scanning the bike’s onboard QR code panel.  The app transmits the code to the mothership, which checks the rider’s account status (credit-card based) and unlocks the bike’s beefy rear wheel lock with a distinctive “clank”. Away you go.

You can check Dropbike’s cost and related commercial details HERE.  Via the GPS capability, you’ll get dinged if you take the bike outside of the operational area, or commit other commercial or operational sins.  There are consequences, my friend.

A few of Dropbike’s other locations are:  Kelowna, U Manitoba, Westmount (Montreal), Kingston (Ontario).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *