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Toronto Bike Share

waterloowarrior

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I've rode the Bixis several times in Ottawa (there was a trial this summer)... they are kind of slow with only the three gears, which isn't ideal for some streets like Rideau
 

Joe

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The Attraction of Bixi

Why will tourists and even Torontonians use it?

Because once you have a membership, the first 30 minutes are FREE! This is assuming that the same payment scheme used in Montreal is used here too.

So, yeah, $100 a year (less than ONE metropass) may sound like a lot when you can buy a crappy bike for $200, but if you can essentially go anywhere where BixiTO (or whatever they call it) downtown for free.

Even bike-owners may use it. Say I live at Dundas West and Bloor and work downtown, but one morning it's raining and I don't feel like biking to work... I take the TTC. Then, the afternoon is sunny and nice, so I hop a Bixi and bike home, dropping the bike off at a Bixi station near home.

Toronto BIXI system (phase 1) will be roughly High Park in the West, Broadview Ave. in the east, Bloor St. in the north and Lake Ontario in the south.
 

tgam

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No more word on this?

I just spent the past few days in Montreal and spent one of my days using Bixi there (it was too cold or wet to ride the other days). It was fantastic. I saw more of Montreal on that day than I ever have on any other trip.

It's easy to use--for visitors, you use your credit card to access a bike at each station, and are charged $5 per 24h period. Locals were using the subscription card, which would be even faster and more convenient as each individual bike stand is equipped with a card reader--just swipe and go.

There are stations everywhere, hundreds of them, and this (plus ease of use) is the key to the program's success. You are never more than a five minute walk from one. If this were tried in Toronto (after ten years of consultations, committees etc) there would be five stations half an hour apart.

The bikes are perfectly fine for the short hauls for which they are designed. Front and rear brakes and lights, 3 gears (some had 7), adjustable seat height. There's a basket with a permanent bungee attached for cargo. I never saw a broken or derelict bike. There is a button on each stand to report a broken bike.

The stations are not permanent--they are taken in every winter. Simply seeing them on the street sent a powerful message: this is the best form of urban transit.

I saw lots of people using them, especially on the Plateau.

Only once did I try to return a bike to a station to find the racks full, but it was easy to find a free space nearby. The whole system is wired, so that you can look up where how many bikes and fee spaces there are at each station, although I found that aspect (via iphone) a bit cumbersome to use--no matter, since it's easy to find stations without it.

I also saw service trucks moving bikes around.

Apart from a few dedicated lanes, Montreal is about the same to get around by bike as Toronto--lots of parked cars to avoid, fast and heavy traffic on main streets--but there are lots of quiet side streets to use.

As for the cost, I had had my $100 canadian tire bike stolen every year, plus the hassle and mess of getting it in and out of the apartment. I would gladly pay $80 a year for this service.

This would totally work in Toronto in the old city and inner suburbs. The obstacle here is purely political. The stations take up a lot of parking spaces, which is anathema here. As already stated, the number of stakeholders that would be required to sign off on such a program would bog down implementation. Our recent history is replete with half baked municipal initiatives (do I need to re-list them here?) whereas Bixi requires a total commitment to work. It would take a strong and powerful advocate to get this going in Toronto. Quel dommage!
 

tgam

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Ha ha ha! I poked around the blog that started this thread and found this:

http://www.theurbancountry.com/2010/02/toronto-set-to-axe-bike-sharing_17.html

"Sources are telling us that someone in the City Manager’s office feels bike sharing is useless and a waste of money... A public tender was issued and City Council gave staff authority to negotiate with BIXI... A public bike program in Toronto is not being abandoned. It remains an integral part of our sustainable transportation plan. The Mayor has instructed City Staff to review the viability of this type of program with other funding options."

No space! More study! Back to committee! The bureaucrats win again!
 

tgam

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OMG! Even more hilarious:

http://www.theurbancountry.com/2010/04/toronto-inches-forward-at-record-speed.html

"BIXI to launch in 2011 with 1,000 bicycles at 80 stations... The original BIXI plan called for 3,000 bikes and 300 stations to match Montreal’s original launch in May 2009. The new plan calls for only 1,000 bikes at 80 stations."

I didn't even need to read these articles to know exactly how it would play out here.

By the time the program launches in 2015, there will be 300 bikes at 20 stations, covering the same geographic area as the original plan. The "pilot" project will founder, fingers will be pointed, the experiment abandoned, and pundits will say see? municipal biking will never work.

As the kids say, epic fail.
 

kettal

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We shouldn't expect a small backwater town like Toronto to achieve in 5 years what Montreal can in one.
 

tgam

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The irony is that Montreal is otherwise run down, shabby and dirty. Fortunately, they have had decades of proper planning and infrastructure building so that even in it's fallen state the city is so much more beautiful, sophisticated and urban than here.
 

junctionist

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The irony is that Montreal is otherwise run down, shabby and dirty. Fortunately, they have had decades of proper planning and infrastructure building so that even in it's fallen state the city is so much more beautiful, sophisticated and urban than here.

Are you kidding me? Perhaps it has more historic beauty but Toronto today easily matches or exceeds Montreal various aspects of urban sophistication. The Toronto of today is one where even our suburbs have more attractive skyscrapers under construction than urban Montreal. But it impressive that Montreal has adopted various innovations like transit fare cards or Bixi, that their subway is more developed for a city of their size, and that their stations are quite attractive public spaces.
 

GraphicMatt

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Hey, for the record, Council talked about Bixi today and ultimately voted in favour of it:

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/transportation/article/808056--bike-share-plan-gets-a-green-light

n a 33-8 vote, city council authorized staff to sign a deal with a Montreal company that will initially supply 1,000 bicycles to be parked at 80 docking stations spaced 300 metres apart.

Target launch date is May 1, 2011.

Quick note: mayoral candidate Rob Ford was one of eight councillors to vote against this.
 

tgam

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The Toronto of today is one where even our suburbs have more attractive skyscrapers under construction than urban Montreal.

I hope you're not referring to Mississauga. There's nothing sophisticated about it. Wealth does not equal progress or urbanity.

But it impressive that Montreal has adopted various innovations like transit fare cards or Bixi, that their subway is more developed for a city of their size, and that their stations are quite attractive public spaces.

That's what I mean. Montreal is a real 21st century city. For all the handwaving about 'creative class' and 'urban innovation' Toronto is far, far behind. Just because there's a bunch of advertising drones running around King and Spadina in skinny jeans doesn't mean we live in urban utopia. Now, if those kids were riding bixi...
 

junctionist

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I was thinking of Absolute towers in Mississauga, but there's also Quantum at Yonge and Eglinton. Mississauga's city hall is one of the best postmodern buildings in Canada.

I don't know why it takes us so long to adopt these urban innovations or even bury overhead wires. Is it a lack of urban planning talent? Poorer urban planning education? Less awareness among the general population on what needs to be improved?
 

Northern Light

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So, Bixi is now trying hard to solicit the 1,000 signed up members it requires to launch in spring 2011.

They have 450 as of earlier today, and NEED the 1,000 by November. I would encourage everyone remotely interested in the public bikeshare idea to sign up and help make it happen.

They are demo-ing all over the city on a regular basis if you want to try it out; check their website https://profile.toronto.bixi.com/member or their Facebook group (just search Bixi Toronto) for details on where they are demo'ing.

Membership is $95 + tax for a year.
 

rbt

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So, Bixi is now trying hard to solicit the 1,000 signed up members it requires to launch in spring 2011.

They have 450 as of earlier today, and NEED the 1,000 by November. I would encourage everyone remotely interested in the public bikeshare idea to sign up and help make it happen.

I'm not in Toronto at the moment but will be during the spring. Remind me again at the end of September and I will pick up a membership as it doesn't look like I will be making a campaign contribution this year.
 

taal

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It seems a little expensive for me ... I loved the idea and was about to subscribe but when I realized you still pay a usage - so for say 2:15 it'll cost me an additional 20.50.
It's also interesting bixi montreal is cheaper - only about 80 for the yearly subscription and all the 30min rates are about 1.5 less ... not much cheaper.

Anyway, and after reading the site I see they even acknowledge this on the Montreal site, this is ideal for short trips only ... any long weekend bike trips (and long is only say 1:30-3 hours) it's very costly, even if it's monthly event (so say 2:30 every month):
95 + (12*20.50) = $341.

Come to think of it that's not terrible - but it's about the price of a relatively cheap bike. Although it would be hard to beet all the convenience.

For short trips (30min or less is always free usage fee!) it's amazing ... anyone living downtown (who works / plays downtown as well - which isn't always the case) ... this is amazing - sign up now! i.e. if you're only going to make 30min or less trips ... this so beats owning your own bike ... even for $90 a month, for all the convenience ...
 

DSC

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It seems a little expensive for me ... I loved the idea and was about to subscribe but when I realized you still pay a usage - so for say 2:15 it'll cost me an additional 20.50.
It's also interesting bixi montreal is cheaper - only about 80 for the yearly subscription and all the 30min rates are about 1.5 less ... not much cheaper.

Anyway, and after reading the site I see they even acknowledge this on the Montreal site, this is ideal for short trips only ... any long weekend bike trips (and long is only say 1:30-3 hours) it's very costly, even if it's monthly event (so say 2:30 every month):
95 + (12*20.50) = $341.

Come to think of it that's not terrible - but it's about the price of a relatively cheap bike. Although it would be hard to beet all the convenience.

For short trips (30min or less is always free usage fee!) it's amazing ... anyone living downtown (who works / plays downtown as well - which isn't always the case) ... this is amazing - sign up now! i.e. if you're only going to make 30min or less trips ... this so beats owning your own bike ... even for $90 a month, for all the convenience ...

Bixi bikes are not for long rentals - ideally one only keeps a bike for 30 minutes - in which case there is NO charge except your 'membership". This does mean there need to be lots of rental/drop-off points and in Montreal, where I rented one last week, they are everywhere. The annual cost in Montreal is actually for 8 (or 9) months as they are not offering them all year (as we are here in TO.)

They are a great idea IF you only want short rides, if you want long ones they are expensive.
 
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