How to use BIXI and not get charged extra fees

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

A Bike Share Bicycle Built for Two

As you may have heard, there was a pretty big wedding in London, UK on Friday, April 29th, 2011.

While everyone was buzzing about a dress that looked like some other dress, a carriage that is over 100 years old (OLD!) and a convertible… there was one item that received very little attention and has pretty fantastic Canadian roots.

A specially commissioned tandem “Boris Bike” was gifted to the Royal couple by London’s mayor, Boris Johnson.

Via Bike Hub:

The bike was paid for by Serco, operator of the London Bike Hire scheme, and made by the Public Bike System Company, the same Canandian company that makes the standard Boris Bikes.

The bikes used in London were first used by PBSC in Montreal, Canada and is known as the BIXI. The bikes are designed by industrial designer Michel Dallaire and built in the Saguenay, Quebec region by Cycles DeVinci.

The tandem has an oversized downtube, seven speed gears, an adapted braking system, a greater wheelbase (1800 mm vs 1111 mm) and two bells.

Roger Plamondon, chairman of the Public Bike System Company said:

“We are very proud of the work we have accomplished to make this special gift a reality and are delighted to find our BIXI at the heart of the royal festivities.”

But why just a one off? With Toronto’s Bixi launching on May 3rd let’s get a couple of these on the streets for real!

Image via Mayor Boris Johnson’s Twitpic
Story via Bike Hugger

Bike share brings out creativity

Bixi Toronto is set to go live on May 3, 2011 and we can’t wait!

With bike share systems already up and running in many major cities we’ve already had a look at some creative uses for the system.

Here’s a Boris Bike Flash Mob Spin Class:

A pro BMX rider put the London Cycle Hire Scheme through some rigorous strength testing:

And Bixi Montreal is even filming “alleycat” style races that promote legal riding and provide information about cycling infrastructure in the city: An “Alleycat” Race on BIXIs?

In Anticipation of Bixi Toronto a Look at Bicing Barcelona

Some great points are made in this video.

– If you promote cycling in a positive way, you get positive results (and the exact opposite is true).

– Bike share helps to get more people onto bicycles while cycling-friendly infrastructure is still also needed.

Video by Mike Rubbo:
Via Copenhagenize

At the Corner of Rachel & Brébeuf, Montreal

Via Copenhagenize


Boyer bike lane via Flickr

Congratulations, Toronto For Supporting Bixi; 1,000 Subscriber Goal Reached!

Toronto Bixi

Last night, October 18, 2010, Bixi Toronto held a party for the existing 884 subscribers.

According to the party was a success and coincided with the announcement that the 1,000 early subscribers goal set by Toronto City Council was reached (and surpassed)!

However, Bixi Toronto is not a sure thing just yet. The good news is that you can help. In addition to 1,000 early subscribers the bike share system also needs to secure $600,000 in sponsorship. Of that total, ING Direct has contributed $450,000. The remaining money can come from both additional sponsors and from subscribers beyond the 1,000 mark.

If you haven’t subscribed to Bixi Toronto yet you can do so here:

If your company would like to become a sponsor, information can be found here: Corporate Memberships and How to Sponsor Bixi Toronto

Patch stencil artwork by Janet Bike Girl

In MTL, the Alternatives to Bixi are Less Appealing

(In all fairness, a Hunxi model is also in the works…)

Via MTLMedia

Bixi Gets the Janet Bike Girl Treatment

Bixi Bicycle Toronto, hand stenciled fabric patch

More of Janet Bike Girl’s patches here.

Ad for Bike Share in Valéncia, Spain

A simple ad that demonstrates the easy mobility bike share can provide.

Learn more about Valenbisi here.

Via Copenhagenize

An “Alleycat” Race on BIXIs?

BIXI Montreal have uploaded a series of videos demonstrating the many ways you can integrate bicycle sharing into your daily life. These videos can be found on the BIXI Vimeo page.

Of these videos, the series, À vos BIXI! is an “alleycat” style challenge where competitors must check in at specific locations while using BIXI bicycles. The competitors are timed and, it appears, are required to follow the rules of the road. Each episode also features an interview with Jean-François Pronovost, general manager of Vélo-Québec, explaining various aspects of cycling infrastructure in Montreal. The series is only available in French.

Check out Episode 3 here:

Find all episodes and other informative BIXI videos on Vimeo here.

Can we expect a similar series to be run when BIXI arrives in Toronto? Only time will tell, subscribe now and help BIXI Toronto reach its initial 1,000 subscribers needed to bring this fantastic system to our streets. Go here to become an early BIXI Toronto member.