The ongoing improvement of cycling infrastructure across Toronto is not only evident through the gradual if slow construction of new bike lanes, but also through the increased geographical spread of the City's Bike Share program. Launched in 2011 as BIXI Toronto, Bike Share was acquired by the City in 2014 and has been steadily expanding its spread and fleet size each year since. 2018 saw a 32% increase in ridership across the city to almost 2 million uses.
2019 will bring an additional 105 stations to the system at the peripherals of the existing network, filling in the gaps to make Bike Share a more viable transportation option. Bike Share Toronto has been allocated $6 million from the Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program to finance this expansion. The grant has been given on the terms that the City make a matching contribution of 20%, which will be sourced from Section 37 and Section 45 funds. This brings the total funding for the 2019 expansion to $7.5 million.
Each of the 1,250 new bikes added will cost $1,090 as per the agreement with the supplier of the existing infrastructure, PBSC Solutions. The remainder of the expansion funds will be used to purchase the station equipment, and to pay for shipping and installation.
The expansion of the network will see the following nodes gaining new Bike Share facilities: Mimico, Humber Bay Shores, Swansea, High Park, Bloor West Village, The Junction, St. Clair, Forest Hill Village, Davisville, Yonge and Eglinton, and the Upper Beaches. Plus, for every station added in these service areas, one station will be added to the downtown core to absorb the increased capacity of riders travelling into the city centre. The downtown stations have been allocated near areas that are densifying in the near future due to new developments. YC Condos, 88 North and The Britt are three examples of such coming locations.
Bike Share's 2019 season is projected to bring in $4 million in revenue, given each additional station added generates the $10,000 per year estimate. Contrasted against the $5,340,000 in operating costs required to run Bike Share, the program will continue to operate at a loss. As the system expands into 2020, capacity will be added to serve a ridership of over 4 million rides annually, which is projected to bring the program into the black.
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