Following last week's extended outage of the Toronto Bike Share network, the Toronto Parking Authority (TPA)—the new operator of the system—and the provincial transit agency Metrolinx are offsetting the technical hiccup with the start of a major expansion to the bike sharing system. The expansion will add 120 new Bike Share stations and 1000 new bikes—doubling the current number—to locations around the city between now and July 11th.

Bike Share Toronto, Toronto Parking Authority, MetrolinxBike Share Toronto station, image by Jack Landau

The expansion to Bike Share is generally adding stations within the area south from Davenport Road to the lake between Bathurst and Lansdowne on the west side, and between Parliament and Broadview on the east side. The expansion also means that there will be Bike Share stations within close proximity of every subway station between Dundas West and Main Street, and south from Dupont and Summerhill stations. Bike Share stations near public transit are an important solution to the 'last kilometre' issue in urban transportation, where commuters often lack adequate transit for the final leg of their commutes. 

“We are excited to be moving forward with the TPA to bring more seamless transportation options to residents,” said Bruce McCuaig, President and CEO of Metrolinx. “Bike sharing is a great way to connect people to transit in the first and last kilometre of their journey, giving people more options to get where they need to go.”

Bike Share Toronto, Toronto Parking Authority, MetrolinxBike Share Toronto system map, west, image courtesy of TPA/Metrolinx

Of the 1000 bikes and 120 stations being added to the network, a large percentage (800 bikes and 80 stations) were purchased through a $4.9 million partnership between Metrolinx and the TPA, agreed upon last year. The remaining bikes and stations were provided by the TPA. The partnership between the TPA and Metrolinx also allows new Bike Share Toronto members that hold valid PRESTO cards to receive 50% the first year of membership, with the discount taking effect this summer. Ease of use is also being improved with the new Bike Share Toronto app, which will allow the network's 4,000 annual members and over 35,000 casual users to better plan their trips.

Bike Share Toronto, Toronto Parking Authority, MetrolinxBike Share Toronto system map, central, image courtesy of TPA/Metrolinx

"By expanding Bike Share Toronto, residents will have more options to get around the city. More bikes on our streets means fewer cars on our roads, helping to reduce congestion and improve the air we breathe,” said Mayor John Tory. “I’d like to thank the Province of Ontario for investing in Toronto and helping double the amount of bikes available to share. Whether it’s by foot, bike, public transit or car, we’re working together to get Toronto moving.”  

Bike Share Toronto, Toronto Parking Authority, MetrolinxBike Share Toronto system map, east, image courtesy of TPA/Metrolinx

While the major expansion is very welcome, the city needs the further expand the area served by the system. This year's investment will bring the facilities closer to the homes of many thousands of potential new users of the system, but further investments will be needed in coming years. Following 2016's expansion, can we hope to see the system expanded west to the Humber River and east to Woodbine Avenue in 2017?

While the maps above show the extent of the system as it is intended to be as of July 11, you can find which stations are operational on a daily basis at this link.

Do you have thoughts about Toronto's Bike Share system? Share them in the comments section at the bottom of this page!