Update: see previous posts – 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)
BICYCLE + TAXI = BIXI
Bixie Bikes located on the east side of Elizabeth Street, south of Edward Street. The the Toronto Cyclists Union is a member-based organization, which boasts that it has a membership of over a thousand members, and it’s calling on the City of Toronto to expand the Bixie Bikes in the City from 1,000 to 3,000. They are calling upon City council to view Toronto’s expanding needs through the Bixie experience in Montreal.
Currently, there are 1,000 Bixie bikes and 80 Bixie stations with 1,500 docking points (within 300 metres of each other) around Toronto’s downtown core.
The Toronto Cyclists Union would like to triple that and see 3,000 Bixie bikes and 240 stations with 4,500 docking points (within 300 metres of each other) with the current service area vastly expanded.
According to the Toronto Cyclists Union (the “TCU”), most of the demand for Bixie bikes, is from the edges of the service area (at the periphery), along Jarvis Street, Spadina Avenue and Bloor Street.
In the City of Montreal (where the Bixie program started in Canada two (2) years ago), the Bixie program resonates with Montrealers, but could result in a big hit to taxpayers. The Bixie program is in trouble there. It has an annual operating deficit of almost $6 million dollars and needs to provide $37 million dollars to the city.
Three weeks after launching its 2011 season, in Montreal, the company behind Bixi, laid off nine (9) employees (employees work in marketing, operations, accounting and customer service) due to ongoing financial problems. The private, non-profit Public Bike System Co. normally employs about 60 people at this time of year. The Public Bike System Company blamed its troubles on the Quebec provincial government.
A $108-million loan package for the Bixi rent-a-bike program was passed by a 35 to 25 vote of Montreal City Council on Tuesday, May 17, 2011. The private, non-profit company behind Bixi, Public Bike System Co., will receive a straight $37 million loan to cover its local deficit, and the city will act as guarantor for another $71 million in loans to help Bixi expand further around the world. Bixie believes it can break even if it has 50,000 members.
The Bixie program only started on May 3, 2011. If the City of Toronto doesn’t provide another loan to Bixi (Toronto has already provided a 4.8 million dollar loan and assistance in securing 80 Bike station spaces), will they start laying off employees in Toronto?
The TCU believes that the Bixie program should be tripled in its’ scope, givent that in its first month of operation in Toronto (May 3 – June 3, 2011) 64,500 total trips were recorded. Based on these numbers, it is not unreasonable to expect that ridership may reach 100,000 total trips by the first week of July, 2011.
Will Bixie Give Torontonians the Same Deal They Give to Montrealers?
The Bixie program in Montreal charge Montrealers:
- $78.00 for a yearly membership with Bixie
- Allows cyclists to ride their bikes for 45 minutes for free
The Bixie program in Toronto charge Torontonians:
- $95.00 for a yearly membership with Bixie – $17.00 more a year than Montrealers have to pay!
- Allows cyclists to ride their bikes for 30 minutes for free (fifteen (15) minutes less than Montrealers!)
When will the Bixie program in Toronto, provide Torontonians with the same low prices ($17.00 less) and additional time to ride (15 minutes) their bikes as Montrealers already receive and enjoy?
Toronto has already provided a 4.8 million dollar loan for the Bixie program and Torontonians should receive the same benefits as Montrealers receive in the province of Quebec.