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Toronto Public Bike Sharing Update

publicbikesystemThe City of Toronto just sent out a special update to Cyclometer subscribers on the Public Bike System, which has been in trouble due to finances.  A new arrangement has apparently been hammered out, and will be discussed at the April 20th meeting of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee:

Proposed Public Bicycle Program – Staff Report

Background File: http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2010/pw/bgrd/backgroundfile-28853.pdf (PDF)

bixilogoCity staff and the Public Bike System Company (PBSC) have negotiated the draft terms of an agreement whereby PBSC would enter into a 10-year agreement with the City to be launched May 1, 2011.  When the program is deployed, Torontonians and visitors would have access to 1,000 bicycles via 80 fully automated and conveniently located “bicycle parking stations” in the downtown area during the first year of operation with the potential to expand the system to other areas in the future. The System shall be operated under the brand “BIXI Toronto”.

During this first phase PBSC and City staff would focus on achieving five project milestones that would trigger the launch of the program.

The five project milestones are:

•    $600,000 in sponsorship funding;
•    1,000 subscription pledges;
•    80 approved bicycle parking station locations;
•    Marketing/communications plan in place; and
•    PBSC obtaining a loan commitment on terms satisfactory to the Deputy City Manager and Chief Financial Officer.

The project milestones must be achieved by November 30, 2010 to launch the program  by May 1, 2011. When the project milestones have been met, the City will provide a loan guarantee ($4.8 million) to PBSC. In turn, PBSC will secure a loan for an estimated $4.8 million and commence to manufacture the BIXI equipment for installation in Toronto and establish a local operations group to manage the program.

What do you think of this new arrangement?

  • I might be off in La-La-Land here…
    But I really never got the impression that Toronto needed more ‘bikes’ per se (shared or otherwise) to encourage cyclng…I always thought the barrier was more roadway infrastrucure to add/assure the safety of Cyclists, and encourage the less experienced Urban Cyclists out onto the road…

    Could this enormous expense for a BikeShare program be another BikeLane Boondoggle ?


    Ride Free

  • There are a good number of benefits to the bike share program in increasing cycling in TO.

    The first is supply/demand of bike lanes. We have seen with Velib, Bixi and even Toronto’s former bike share program that bike share in major cities is well used with a decent subscription rate to keep it sustaining. That means that on any given day we have the current number of cyclists on the road in addition to the new cyclists out for a spin on these bikes. They may not be utilitarian cyclists or full-time cyclists but the modal shift will of course have an influence on increasing the demand for the supply of bike lanes in the city.

    Bike share is designed to attract people making frequent yet short trips (short referring to trips under 5km) to consider cycling over other modes of transportation. Having the bike share will impact demand for other modal types such as transit or driving as these short trips can be covered quickly by bicycle for most users. It may not be able to get every driver out of their car but it’s a step in allowing users to make viable choices in their modal use during a commute or trip. This can also be coupled with mutli-modal transportation as most bike share hubs are located in public transit corridors.

    There is also the convenience factor. Common issues that deter people from using cycling as a form of utility (aside from a lack of infrastructure) are: theft, maintenance, and locking facilities. Bike Share eliminates all of these for users since a locked up bike share bike at a station is now the City’s concern and not the user and if one is missing they can just grab another. Maintenance is again looked after by the City often via a 3rd party so users never have to worry about wasting money taking it into a bike shop and if the bike a user is riding does not operate well they can just lock it up and get another one. Lastly, locking facilities are often a concern particularly among those living in condos or apartment and lack long-term parking facilities. With any bike share there are ample facilities throughout the city which make it easy to find a place to conveniently lock it up.

  • Pingback: Toronto City Council passes Bixi Toronto Public Bike Program | Biking Toronto()

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