BIXI launch bike sharing in Toronto

Canada’s second city bike share up and running

A new BIXI bike-share program launched last month in Toronto, Canada. There have been an estimated 10,000 trips since its debut held in the downtown core and those numbers are expected to rise dramatically during the summer months.

The Toronto program is Canada’s second city, next to Montreal, to adopt the bike share system, which is based in the later city. The Canadian capital of Ottawa also joined the program on 18 May.

The Montreal-based Public Bike System Company (PBSC) BIXI in Toronto was in high anticipation having sold more than 1000 annual membership during the year prior to its launch. The number of members increased to 1,755 in its first month of service, with more than 10,000 trips taken on the bikes.

BIXI is aims to achieve between 7,000 and 8,000 members this year. “We can track the usage and Torontonians have done over 10,000 trips,” said Michel Philibert of BIXI to BikeRadar. “Actually, we had bad weather so it's not easy to make a judgment of the usage.”

The BIXI Toronto program is open all year round despite the typically unruly winter and spring weather conditions. There are 80 stations and 1,000 bikes set up through out the downtown core and busy locations such as Bloor Street, Jarvis Street, Bathurst Street and along the waterfront of Lake Ontario.

Customers are charged a daily rate of CAN$5, monthly rate of $40 and an annual rate of $95, whereby the first 30 minutes of each ride are included for free. However, additional usage includes $1.50 for an extra 30 minutes and $3 per extra hour.

According to Philibert, BIXI Toronto’s expansion is dependent on public response. “If it a success and Torontonians asked for more, and if the city of Toronto decide to expand the system, we will expand the program,” he said.

Cycling is a large part of the city’s culture. It currently has nearly 200km of bike lanes and the 2001 Toronto City Bike Plan is expected to increasing that to 800km. There are also 225km of shared roadways and 270km of off-road paths, with plans to expand to 400km.

BIXI programs are also up and running in Montreal, Washington DC and London. Other cities including Boston, New York, Miami Beach, Minneapolis and Portland and Vancouver, have inquired about the program, according to the BIXI website.

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