Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011 is the official launch of the BIXI bike share system in Toronto. Based on my experience in Montreal last summer and from conversations with friends it seems as though there is and will be some initial confusion with how to use the BIXI system.
The BIXI web site has step-by-step instructions for non-subscription based usage. These instructions will also appear on the payment terminal at all BIXI stations.
The majority of BIXI users will only ever pay the base user fees and not accrue extra charges. Here are a few points to remember so you only pay the base access fees and aren’t charged extra when using BIXI Toronto:
1) Your access fees grant you an unlimited number of trips using any BIXI bike at any BIXI station. However, each trip must be completed in under 30 mins or you are charged additional fees that escalate the longer you keep the bike.
2) When planning travel by BIXI use the station location map to plan both your route and to determine your destination. Remember, your BIXI trip is from station to station. Unlike car sharing where you rent and return a vehicle to the same location, with BIXI you return the bikes to ANY STATION.
3) When you purchase 24 or 72 hour access your credit card is your access key. You need a new access code to release a BIXI bike from its dock for every trip. To get another code, repeat the same steps you took when purchasing access, your credit card will not be charged again and this is the only way to get another code to release a BIXI bike.
4) One credit card can give you access to two BIXI bikes at a time. To release two BIXI bikes from one station you need two access codes. Codes are only printed individually so you need to repeat the access code process twice.
5) The close proximity of all BIXI stations means that when you stop riding you should return the bike to a station. You may be tempted to stop and run quick errands without returning the bike to a station. Doing this could result in the BIXI bike being stolen if left unattended or you may exceed your 30 minute usage time.
6) If the BIXI station you intended to end your trip at has no empty docks you can use your credit or access key to add an additional 15 minutes to your usage time. This only works when there are no vacant docks at a BIXI station.
7) Many of Toronto’s BIXI locations are located on sidewalks and in parks. BIXI bikes are vehicles and you can be ticketed for riding on sidewalks just like any other vehicle would be. Walk your BIXI to the nearest street to start your journey and obey traffic laws. A fine by Toronto Police Services could make your BIXI rental much more expensive.
For more answers to any BIXI-relation question visit the BIXI Toronto FAQ
Update: Still unsure of how to use BIXI? Here’s an excellent video to help: How BIXI Toronto Bike Sharing Works