The 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)
City 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?