Bike Share Toronto

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Bike Share Toronto
Bike Share Toronto logo.png
BikeShareToronto Temperance St at Cloud Gardens.JPG
Station on Temperance St. at Cloud Gardens
Overview
OwnerToronto Parking Authority
LocaleToronto, Canada
Transit typeBicycle-sharing system
Number of stations625
Annual ridership2.9 million (2020)
Websitebikesharetoronto.com
Operation
Began operationMay 3, 2011 (as Bixi Toronto)
Operator(s)Shift Transit
Number of vehicles6,850 bikes
All Bike Share Trips in Toronto in 2017

Bike Share Toronto is a bicycle-sharing system located in Toronto, Canada. The system was launched in 2011 by PBSC under the BIXI brand. It was taken over by the Toronto Parking Authority (TPA) in 2014. Available year-round, the system consists of 6850 bicycles and 625 stations.[1] As of 2020, the system covers over 200 square kilometres (80 square miles) of Toronto — from Finch Avenue in the north, Rouge Park in the east, Lake Ontario to the south, and to Long Branch, Toronto to the west.[2]

As of May 2020, Bike Share Toronto has almost 234,000 active members.[3]

History[edit]

Bike Share Toronto launched in 2011 as BIXI Toronto,[4] with 80 stations centred around the downtown core of Toronto and 1,000 bicycles.[5] The system was operated by PBSC.

In 2013, PBSC announced that it was unable to pay back $3.9-million of a $4.5-million loan from the City of Toronto and filed for bankruptcy.[6] The City decided to cover the loan by diverting money from an automated public-toilets program; the City then took control of the bike-share program.[7]

On April 1, 2014, the TPA took control of the bike share program, and renamed it to Bike Share Toronto. The new operator of the system was Alta Bicycle Share (now Motivate).[8]

A planned expansion of 22 stations for the 2015 Pan Am / Parapan Am Games was abandoned. The original stations operated on a hybrid platform; software was supplied by 8D and hardware came from PBSC. Later, each company developed its own full system of hardware and software, no longer supporting integration of components with other vendors. As a result, all existing stations would have to be replaced or retrofitted.[9]

System expansion[edit]

The first expansion launched in June 2016, with $4.9 million in funding provided by Metrolinx[10] and $1.1 million in Section 37 funds.[11][12] The expansion added 120 stations and 1,000 bikes, for a total of 2,000 bicycles and 200 stations. The TPA chose PBSC as the supplier of the new bicycles and stations. As part of the agreement, PBSC would also retrofit the existing stations to be compatible with the new stations.[13]

On April 1, 2017, the TPA transitioned the day-to-day operation of Bike Share Toronto to Shift Transit, a PBSC partner company, while maintaining ownership of the system.[14][15]

A further expansion of the system took place in August 2017, with the system expanding to 270 stations, 2,750 bikes and 4,700 docks, with $4 million in expansion funding from the Government of Canada and the City of Toronto.[16] The August 2018 expansion expanded the station to 360 stations, 3,750 bikes, and 6,200 docks.[17] By the end of 2019, 105 new stations and 1,250 more bikes had been added to the system in 2019, with a corresponding increase in ridership to over 2.4 million.[18]

In June 2020, it was announced that the system would expand substantially, with 1,850 new bicycles and 160 stations outside the downtown core, such as in North York and Scarborough. The size of the system would increase to over 200 square kilometres (80 square miles), with docking stations in 20 of the 25 wards.[19] This expansion would also add 300 e-bikes to the system, allowing easier journeys in hilly parts of the city and speeding up long-distance journeys.[20]

In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and consequential stay-at-home orders, ridership grew by 20%, with records being set for both the busiest day and the busiest weekend on the system.[3][21]

Ridership[edit]

Ridership numbers denote "trips" per year; one "trip" is usually between 1 and 30 minutes. The system's fee structure strongly encourages longer-distance commuters to split each journey into shorter "trips" of 30 minutes or less.

Year Ridership Source
2020 2,900,000 [21]
2019 2,400,384 [18]
2018 1,975,384 [3]
2017 1,510,802 [3]
2016 834,235 [3]
2015 667,000 [22]

Bikes[edit]

The bicycles are utility bicycles; they have a unisex step-through frame with an upright seating position. They are equipped with internal hub gears, drum brakes, fenders, chain guard, generator lights, and a front rack.

The conventional bikes are PBSC's "Iconic" model. The e-bikes which have been ordered for the e-bike pilot project are PBSC's "E-Fit" model. All the bikes have been configured with three-speed hubs.[23]

There are also 300 pedal-assist e-bikes available, which were added in the 2020 expansion.[24]

Mobile apps[edit]

It is still possible to rent a bicycle at most stations using the payment kiosk, but it is perhaps easier to use a mobile app instead. The officially-recommended mobile app is the "PBSC" app (formerly named "CycleFinder").[25] A competing app, called "Transit App", also works.

Sponsorship and promotions[edit]

TD logos on bike racks

Between late 2014 and 2016, TD Canada Trust sponsored Toronto Bike Share, covering "all operating costs"[26] at a cost of $750,000 a year. This sponsorship was not renewed.[27]

Free Ride Wednesdays[edit]

In June 2017, Toronto Mayor John Tory announced a "Free Ride Wednesdays" program, which allowed anyone to take free trips of up to 30 minutes on every Wednesday in July 2017.[28] There were no limits to the number of trips per day. Fees applied only if any one single trip exceeded 30 minutes.[29] Free Ride Wednesdays were also held in June 2018 and August 2019.[30] Afterwards, Bike Share Toronto signed a multi-year sponsorship agreement with CAA in order to cover future Free Ride Wednesdays.[31]

Criticism[edit]

Credit cards have been found to be difficult to use at some payment kiosks. Also, users need to make stops at one or more intermediate stations during a single journey if it takes more than 30 minutes.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About Bike Share Toronto - FAQ". Bike Share Toronto. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Discover our 625 Stations - System Map". Bike Share Toronto. Retrieved 2020-12-24.
  3. ^ a b c d e "2020 Expansion: Bike Share Toronto Grows to 6,850 Bikes & 625 Stations". Bike Share Toronto. 6 September 2020. Retrieved 2021-02-17. In the last 12 months, year over year membership has increased by 60% from 146,604 to 234,117 (May 31, 2018-2019, compared to May 31, 2019-2020).
  4. ^ "BIXI bike-sharing officially launches in Toronto". blogTO. Retrieved 2018-01-26.
  5. ^ "BIXI bike-sharing officially launches in Toronto". blogTO. Retrieved 2017-12-01.
  6. ^ Moore, Oliver (March 31, 2014). "Pricing favours repeat users under new Toronto bike-sharing program". The Globe and Mail.
  7. ^ Alcoba, Natalie (December 5, 2013). "Bell Media saves Bixi bike program, kicks in $5-million to pay debt, expand". National Post. Archived from the original on July 4, 2017.
  8. ^ "Bixi Toronto Under New Management, Now Called "Bike Share Toronto" — Motivate". Motivate. Retrieved 2017-12-01.
  9. ^ Spurr, Ben (2015-06-03). "Bike Share won't expand in time for Pan Am Games". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 2017-12-01.
  10. ^ Kalinowski, Tess (July 6, 2015). "Bike Share Toronto to double with $4.9 million from Metrolinx". Toronto Star.
  11. ^ Kalinowski, Tess (December 9, 2014). "Bike Share Toronto sponsor means 20 new stations next year". Toronto Star.
  12. ^ Keenan, Edward (January 16, 2015). "Section 37 — What it is, and why everybody's fighting about it". Toronto Star.
  13. ^ "1,000 new bikes and 120 new stations coming to Bike Share Toronto program". CBC News. Retrieved 2017-12-01.
  14. ^ "Motivate and Toronto Parking Authority Announce Transition of Bike Share Toronto Operations — Motivate". Motivate. Retrieved 2017-12-01.
  15. ^ "BIKE SHARE TORONTO | SHIFT TRANSIT". shifttransit.net. Retrieved 2017-12-01.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "Bike Share Toronto expansion gives Toronto residents 70 new bike stations". City of Toronto. August 2, 2017. Archived from the original on August 10, 2017. Retrieved August 9, 2017.
  17. ^ "Bike Share Toronto 2018 Expansion - More bikes and new stations". Bike Share Toronto. Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  18. ^ a b "2019: Celebrating a Year of Milestones". Bike Share Toronto. Retrieved 2020-03-09.
  19. ^ "2020 Expansion: Bike Share Toronto Grows to 6,850 Bikes & 625 Stations". Bike Share Toronto. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  20. ^ Smee, Michael (14 January 2020). "Bike Share getting a big new cash infusion". CBC News. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  21. ^ a b "A Look Back At 2020 With Bike Share Toronto: The Silver Lining". Bike Share Toronto. 2 January 2021. Retrieved 2021-02-17.
  22. ^ "Bike Share Toronto rolls into the big time with major expansion". thestar.com. 2016-07-05. Retrieved 2020-03-09.
  23. ^ "Quote from PBSC Urban Solutions Inc" (PDF). City of Toronto website.
  24. ^ "Bike Share Toronto press release". Bike Share Toronto website.
  25. ^ "CycleFinder / PBSC app". Bike Share Toronto.
  26. ^ "Toronto Bike Share gets new life with TD sponsorship". CBC News. December 9, 2014.
  27. ^ "Bike Share Program Financial Considerations" (PDF). Toronto Parking Authority. 20 November 2018. Retrieved 17 Feb 2021.
  28. ^ Mezzanotte, Rita (June 23, 2017). "Mayor John Tory and Bike Share Toronto roll out Free Ride Wednesdays in July". bikesharetoronto.com.
  29. ^ Rider, David (June 23, 2017). "Bike Share Toronto hits ridership record, offers free Wednesday rides in July". Toronto Star.
  30. ^ "Free Ride Wednesdays are back". Bike Share Toronto. June 1, 2018.
  31. ^ "Bike Share forms multi-year partnership with CAA". Bike Share Toronto.

External links[edit]

Media related to Bike Share Toronto at Wikimedia Commons