Bixie: Toronto Nearing Deal to Save Bixi Bike-Share Service

Update: see previous posts – April 24, 2013 BIXI: Toronto Bixi to Undergo a City Review On July 3, 2013, April 17, 2013 BIXI Toronto: A Failing Business, August 19, 2012 BIXI Toronto – Fails Green Test and Violates Muncipal By-laws Governed by the Highway Traffic Act, August 9, 2012 Art of Bicycle Maintenance Puts Young Workers on a New Path, January 23, 2012 Bixi – Coldest Day of the Year Bike Ride On Monday, Jan. 30/12 from Toronto City Hall to Royal York Hotel on Front St  , August 28, 2011 BIXI Toronto – Wants to Expand in Toronto, While Charging Torontonians $17 More and Provides 15 Minutes, Less June 26, 2011 Bixie – When Will BIXI Give Torontonians the Same Deal They Give to Montrealers?, May 11, 2011 Bixi – Car Crashes Into Bike Rack at Bay & Queen Street Bixi Station , May 6, 2011 BIXI Quebec Already Lays Off Employees, May 4, 2011 Bixi Charges $17 More in Toronto and Gives 15 Minutes Less Free Time than Montreal, May 2, 2011 Bixi, April 30, 2011 Bixi – Toronto (Arriving Soon)

Bixie will be bailed out by the City of Toronto.
Bixie will be bailed out by the City of Toronto.
Apparently, Bixie, by whatever name it goes by in different cities, has learned it only has to "push" government coffers and they will open to keep the bikes moving.  This strategy worked in Montreal and now it has worked in Toronto.
Apparently, Bixie, by whatever name it goes by in different cities, has learned it only has to “push” government coffers and they will open to keep the bikes moving. This strategy worked in Montreal and now it has worked in Toronto.

The government and Bixi have resurrected a deal to keep the bicycle-sharing service alive — possibly with the help of a $5 million toilet deal.

see source

The city government and Bixi have resurrected a deal to keep the troubled bicycle-sharing service alive — a deal that may involve a $5 million toilets-for-bikes trade.

“I’m extremely optimistic,” city cycling manager Daniel Egan said in an interview Tuesday, a day before the meeting at which council will vote on Bixi’s future.

Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, chair of the public works committee, said two weeks ago that he was not sure it was “possible to save Bixi.” He said Bixi had attempted at the “11th hour” to change the terms of a proposed agreement.

Egan suggested Tuesday that the problems have been resolved. “There were some shifts, but now things are looking good,” he said.

Bixi has struggled to make ends meet in Toronto since it was launched in 2011. According to a confidential Oct. 15 city report obtained by the Star, Bixi is “insolvent or imminently insolvent due to the fact that revenues generated by the system have not been sufficient to cover costs.”

Mayor Rob Ford says the service is a “failure” that should be allowed to die. But many councillors say it is an essential piece of transportation infrastructure, and the city is on the hook for the $3.7 million outstanding on a $4.5-million start-up loan council guaranteed.

The city has not revealed anything about its vision for Bixi. But according to the Oct. 15 report from transportation chief Stephen Buckley, the plan, as of a month ago, was to transfer ownership of Bixi to the city-owned Toronto Parking Authority. The TPA would then find a “qualified operator” to run the service, “including by sole source if appropriate based on market conditions and time restrictions.”

“The TPA is already in discussions with an experienced, third-party bike share company that operates bike-share systems in other large cities,” the report says.

Under the Oct. 15 plan, the city would pay off the loan — and pay for three years of other Bixi costs — through a novel trade conceived by Minnan-Wong.

Astral Media would give the city $5 million in exchange for permission to not build 11 of the $454,500 self-cleaning public toilets it is currently obligated to provide under its “street furniture” contract with the government. The money could be used to retire the loan, cover transition costs, and take care of the government’s short-term contribution to Bixi operations.

Bixi is owned by a subsidiary of the government of Montreal. According to the confidential report, the TPA believes the transfer would cost about $550,000. The city would also make a payment of up to $120,000 to cover operating costs between January and March.

There would be additional costs in future. Bixi is likely to have an operating deficit of about $200,000 per year, the report says, and the parking authority believes it will need “an ongoing contribution from the city.” But if the toilet deal were approved, according to the report, there would be “zero” impact on taxpayers for the first three years.

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