As the world looks for green solutions, local governments around the world have been investigating ways of making their communities more environmentally friendly. PBSC Urban Solutions is a Canadian innovation that has grown into an astonishing success which led to their Award for Excellence in Bicycle-Sharing Systems – North America. We take a look at what the team are currently offering to see just how they’ve grown from a city-wide success to an international phenomenon.
The micromobility movement has grown into big business for those in the industry. With operations that use bicycles, scooters, and mopeds to make short hops in double-quick time, it’s little wonder that the full potential of this movement still remains untapped. While the COVID-19 pandemic has no doubt had an impact, this is an industry that is certain to recover quickly, and nowhere is this better seen than with the impact of the world-leading PBSC Urban Solutions.
Since opening its doors in 2008, PBSC Urban Solutions has been instrumental not just in the expansion of micromobility services but ensuring that these services are accessible by the public at large. The service first began in Montreal, designed to avoid people being so dependent on cars. The solution was a bike sharing system that became an overwhelming success. In just over a year, the team saw 3000 bicycles in use at over 300 stations, with a system that was reaching out across the world. Today, PBSC Urban Solutions is now present all around the world in major cities such as London, Barcelona, Dubai, Rio de Janeiro, Honolulu, and many others. Its growth is truly remarkable, and the figures back this up. There are now more than 90,000 bikes around the world which have been used across more than 400 million rides and preventing 65 million kilograms of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere.
Changing the world is certainly one of the driving forces behind PBSC Urban Solutions, but it is not a force that operates purely on an expansionist scale. Instead, the team are always looking to how their work affects groups of people. Building communities who trust the services that are being offered and are able to use them effectively is vital to the creation of a system that can be sustained over months and years.
To perform this effectively, the team have developed, marketed, and operate their solutions alongside their local partners. The teamwork in cities of all sizes and are able to implement their own systems either to replace existing solutions or installing something entirely new. Working closely with community leaders ensures that whatever decision is made, it is done to serve the people who live within the community and provide the services that they need.
This carefully calculated approach has involved considerable investment, but has also resulted in technology that people can be certain will work in any country around the world. From e-bikes to smart docking stations to software that ties cities like Monaco and Montreal together, it’s a clear triumph. Everything is designed in-house, from the basic user app that allows users to rent, return and plan their journeys, through to the operator management system that cities depend upon. Adjustment of these features is crucial to the development not only of the system, but to the expansion of a city into a hub of smart technology.
PBSC Urban Solutions has always championed the latest that technology has to offer, and this is shown most clearly by the team’s cloud-based management software. This mission control allows every bike and every Smart Station to be fully connected 24/7. Gathering even the most basic data, from whether locals or tourists are using the bikes through to where bikes are and what condition they are in, can allow local authorities to make quick decisions easily. No matter what the problem, the solution can quickly be found in this integrated management tool.
It’s not just software where the team excels. Those who adopt PBSC Urban Solutions also gain access to their extraordinary range of bicycles and stations. The E-Station is perhaps the flagship of the team’s developments, acting as a multifunctional, grid-powered solution. It certainly is the firm’s unique selling point, as it offers riders the chance to recharge the bikes directly and quickly at the station. There is an intelligent Connected Kiosk that communicates with the system’s back-end so users can dock and unlock bikes with smartphones or smartcards. It has a charging point for e-bikes and the system feedback through so that operators know exactly what is happening. The e-Station has been carefully designed to ensure that it is lightweight and easy to move, allowing it to slot in wherever is most appropriate.
The natural extension, with an eye on green technology, is the Solar Station. This is entirely self-sufficient and is what every modern city dreams of. Built with a modular design, it is infinitely adaptable and ideally suited to permanent positioning or as a temporary hub during seasonal events. Like the e-Station, the Solar Station sends back an enormous amount of data to the operations team, ensuring that any problems can be quickly noticed and rectified.
Beyond the individual stations on offer, the team have developed the bicycle to its ultimate form. The FIT is small, light, and dynamic. It does what a bike need to do with ease. Recently, the team have developed the E-FIT, which assists cyclists with an innovative technology and rider-friendly design. Users of this bike can make moves more quickly than ever before. For those who want to go classic, the ICONIC is the bike that started it all for PBSC Urban Solutions. The team have been using the design for more than a decade, and it still stands the test of time. Its sister unit is the BOOST, an e-Bike unfazed by anything a user can throw at it. It’s telling that while the team are always looking for new ways forward, its previous endeavours have proven very long lasting indeed.
In many ways, this reflects the values that the team hold, and these have been key to their incredible success. Passion has ensured that they not only succeed, but that they succeed in doing the right thing. In this case, PBSC Urban Solutions is not driven purely by an eye for profit, but by a need to create Active people, smart cities and healthy planet. To them, the potential of micromobility solutions is key to this.
Similarly, the performance of the company is reflected in the performance of its employees. Everyone involved at every level looks not to the challenges of today, but to the needs of tomorrow when they’re making decisions. This involves an imaginative process that embraces the possibilities available to them. By taking an attitude that is already curious and adaptable, the team are able to tailor their micromobility solutions to positively influence the future.
When it comes to creating a vision for the future, the team at PBSC Urban Solutions are already there. They know the challenges involved in the running of a smart city and they have taken the time to truly understand how to deal with them effectively. Combined with an approach that is infinitely adaptable, this is truly a transport solution for our times. There is nothing quite like it, anywhere.
For further information, please contact Nathalie Dore via email at [email protected]