BikeShare was an innovative community bicycle-lending program in downtown Toronto developed by CBN that worked like a library system, provided its members with access to a fleet of bright yellow bikes.
BikeShare had 150 bikes distributed in 16 hubs spread throughout Central Toronto, located at stores, cafes and community centres such as Bike Joint, Jet Fuel, 519 Community Centre and Massryk Cowan Community Centre. The hub staff volunteered their time to sign bikes in and out. Each retro-style single-speed cruiser bike was equipped with lock, bell, basket and reflector tape. They could be taken out for up to three days at a time and dropped off at any hub.
From a 2004 program description:
With its fleet of distinctive yellow bikes and hubs throughout the downtown core, the Community Bicycle Network’s BikeShare project is a visible and practical tool for informing residents and visitors to Toronto about the possibilities for sustainable transportation in the city. At a time when the city’s quality of life and environment is increasingly affected by automobile use, BikeShare provides a convenient and economical alternative to the car. Also, through its partner hubs and participation at events across the city, BikeShare reminds citizens about wiser environmental choices.
A season pass was $30 for students, $50 regular, and $75 for supporters (who could also name a BikeShare bike). For those who couldn’t afford $30, a minimum of 4 hours of volunteer service for any community agency or group was accepted.
A mere week after BikeShare announced it would officially close, the city honoured it yet again with the Community Project Award of Excellence for “an original approach to reducing emissions and encouraging cycling.” (source)
Ultimately, CBN and BikeShare served as the inspiration for numerous yellow bike programs across North America.
BikeShare was covered in several academic papers and industry reports on public bike sharing systems, and will be linked below for reference:
CBN: home of the original yellow bike.