Mobi by Shaw Go is Vancouver’s public bike share program. With 1,500 bicycles available at 150 stations for locals and visitors to enjoy the program serves as an extension of Translink, Vancouver’s public transit system. Mobi by Shaw Go has been amazing community partner forming partnerships with local businesses to and even supplying bikes for wedding parties. Their awesome Mobi On Over campaign encourages Mobi members to visit local businesses for exclusive deals. Now closing in on their second year of operation we caught up with them to ask a few questions. Thanks Mobi!
Bikeshare: How has the program been adopted by the residents of Vancouver so far?
Mobi: Very well! We’re really happy with the uptake of our service in the last year and a half since launch and expect that it will keep growing. We recently exceeded 2.5 million kilometres and 725,000+ rides!
We have lots of fun stories from riders who have really brought Mobi into their lives and made it their own. A lot of people integrate Mobi as part of their commute, for exercise, or just for fun, while others have told us they learned to ride a bike with Mobi and even given up a household vehicle.
Bikeshare: What is the most important lesson you have learned since launch?
Mobi: The most important lesson is probably that you can have a successful bike share and mandatory helmet law. We found that by providing helmets free of charge with every bike as well as helmet liners at stations, that the province’s mandatory helmet law doesn’t have to be a big impeding factor on whether people use Mobi or not.
Bikeshare: What has been your biggest challenge to date?
Mobi: Our biggest challenge has probably been communicating the general idea of bike share to people. It’s an unfamiliar concept to most people so finding the right words and mediums to explain how it works can be difficult. Once we get someone on a bike for the first time though they end up loving how fun and convenient it is.
Bikeshare: We hear Vancouver gets A LOT of rain? How do you encourage ridership in rainy weather?
We like to promote the fact that our bikes are equipped for this type of weather. Fenders do a great job of shielding riders from the spray. We also highlight gear that makes riding in the rain a little more enjoyable. Vancouver is a rainy city so we won’t deny that and neither do our marketing efforts. We use photography that shows our riders in wet conditions as a way to help normalize rainy day cycling. This helps promote the idea that it’s not only possible but can be fun as well. It’s just a little water.
Bikeshare: If you could tell residents of Vancouver one thing what would it be?
Mobi: Even if you have your own bike there is still so much value that bike share can add to your life! The most common misconception we hear is “I don’t need bike share, I already have a bike.” But what about those times you don’t have your bike with you and wish you did? Or when you want to bike somewhere and then not bike back? This is where the flexibility and convenience of bike share comes in since you can absolutely use your bike for some trips and Mobi for others. Just give it a try – I promise there is room for both in your life.
Bikeshare: What have you done to help convince the people of that bike share is an important part of city’s overall transportation network.
Mobi: We try to emphasize that it’s all about options. Mobi gives flexibility and convenience to people’s lives which can be used so easily with other modes of transportation. We tell people that the beauty of a one-way bike share trip is that if your plans change or you don’t have any plans at all, you can get around town whatever way you choose! Raining in the morning? Start your day with a bus trip. Sunny in the afternoon? Use Mobi to meet up with a friend. Stayed out a bit late? Grab a car share to get home. The options are endless and Mobi adds one more to the transportation network.
Bikeshare: Why do you think it’s important to keep your riders engaged with the brand? How do you do this?
Mobi: We want people to feel like they are a part of the Mobi family and that they can count on us whether it’s their first time trying out our bike share with a 24 Hour Pass or their 200th ride on their annual pass. Staying engaged reminds people that we’re here for them.
It’s important to engage our riders and the community with a variety of methods since different approaches will resonate with different people. Some of our ongoing engagement efforts include our bi-weekly e-newsletter which is really effective for communicating exciting news and updates. We also use social media, 24 hour customer service line, and sponsorship of fun events that align with our values. Our annual February Rider Challenge has also been super effective for getting people to share their stories and photos with us. We love hearing all of the love and even ways that we can make our bike share better.
Bikeshare: Are there types of partnerships that resonate with your users better than others?
Mobi: We really love working with others who are also pushing to create positive change in Vancouver. This comes in many different shapes and forms so we like to keep an open mind and be as diverse as possible when creating partnerships. By working together with cycling education and advocacy groups, those involved with health and fitness, the LGBTQ community and an addictions treatment centre, we are able to be inclusive and highlight all the great organizations that make Vancouver special. The more inclusive your partnerships are of different community groups the more people feel the bike share system is part of their city. We won’t deny that we love tasty treats so you’ll often find our Mobi riders get exclusive deals on donuts and ice cream around town.
Bikeshare: Anything exciting happening in 2018 that you would like to share?
Mobi: We’re very excited to expand our system into East Vancouver. Our team is currently working hard to get stations ready for installation and more bikes deployed. We’re also looking at launching an equity program which would allow more people to take advantage of the benefits of bike share by reducing some of the common barriers such as cost and credit card ownership. 2018 is going to be a big year!
Bikeshare: What’s your favorite area of Vancouver to explore by bike?
Mobi: We personally love the Seawall in Olympic Village – near our Ontario & Seawall station. We ride this route frequently and stop on the boardwalk to take in the view of the iconic Science World and it’s reflection on the calm waters of False Creek. It’s always so beautiful and vibrant – how lucky we are to live in this city. We often feel like we have the most beautiful and enjoyable commute in the world as we bike through this city. How many people love their commute so much the make frequent stops for photo-ops to share with their friends and family?
Bikeshare: If Mobi by Shaw Go was a food what would it be? Why?
Mobi: Sushi, because we love a good roll and the city loves us 😉