Toronto, as we have learned in the last few weeks, loves its new Bixi bikes. After six weeks of operation, ridership stats are strong, and so far the biggest problem is that some destinations are so popular that there aren’t any available slots to dock the bikes at certain stations. Hoping to capitalize on the momentum, the Toronto Cyclists Union is launching a campaign to expand the bike sharing program.
It was a fairly safe bet that Bixi’s arrival would be followed so soon with a request for additional bikes and stations: the current set-up sees a good concentration of bikes in the central downtown core, but that coverage area is only a portion of downtown, and a very small portion of the city as a whole. “We Want More BIXI!” calls particular attention to this fact; in a statement today, bike union spokesperson Andrea Garcia noted that “the highest usage in the BIXI Toronto system occurs at the periphery, which demonstrates a high demand from Torontonians living outside of the service area. The BIXI program in Montreal experienced the same usage pattern and they were able to use this indicator as a justification for expanding the service area. Toronto should do the same.”
Toronto’s Bixi program is fairly small—just 1,000 bikes compared with Montreal’s 5,000—and it was launched as a pilot project to allow the company to test the Toronto waters. At press time Bixi hadn’t replied to our request for comment on whether they are considering a Toronto expansion anytime soon, but insofar as the current set-up has been described as a pilot, the odds that the bike union’s campaign meets with success, sooner or later, seem quite good.