Today it's bye-bye Bixi for users of Toronto's troubled public bike-sharing system.
On Monday the Toronto Parking Authority, which took over the struggling service in December, will unveil Bixi's new name — Toronto Bike Share — along with a revamped logo and new pricing structure.
Bixi ran into financial trouble last year when it was unable to make payments on a $3.9 million loan guaranteed by the city.
That forced the city to step in and find a new partner to operate the service, which will now be run by Alta Bicycle Share. The Portland, Ore., based company runs successful bike-sharing programs in other cities.
Bixi has a fleet of about 1,000 bikes served by 80 stations spread around the downtown core.
Users pay a membership fee — which can be annual, monthly, 72 or 24 hours — to use the system. Bikes can be taken taken and returned to any of the stations.
The pricing structure means the system is geared for short tips, not day-long jaunts.
Each trip during the membership period is free so long as each trip is under 30 minutes long. Users are charged an hourly rate for trips that extend beyond that first 30 minutes. For 31 to 60 minutes users pay an extra $1.50, then an extra $4 for 61 to 90 minutes and an additional $8 for each half hour after that.
The service will have a new pricing structure for members, one that favours long-term users.
- Annual membership: $90 (down from $97).
- Monthly membership: $18 (down from $41).
- 24-hour pass $7: (up from $5).
- 72-hour pass: $15 (up from $12).
Lorne Persiko of the Toronto Toronto Parking Authority appeared on CBC Radio's Metro Morning on Monday to talk about the re-tooled Bixi.
He told host Matt Galloway the city considers public bike sharing "an integral part of the transportation network."
Galloway asked Persiko about a common complaint from Bixi users: that its stations do not extend beyond the downtown core.
Persiko said outward growth will come as the system can afford it. The aim is that the system will be self-supporting, hopefully with the help of a corporate sponsorship deal to come.
"You have to do smart expansion," he said. "It's got to come from the core and grow out to those areas. The coverage will be there, it just takes time."
He said the system will expand to 100 stations for Pan Am Games, with more expansion is expected in 2015.