BIXI bike program in Toronto saved by city council
City council has voted to adopt a plan that would save the ailing BIXI bike share program in Toronto. Perhaps somewhat lost to the various Rob Ford controversies at council, council quietly voted in favour of a confidential report that would keep the BIXI network operational and possibly witness its expansion.
Although the details have yet to be made public, the speculation is that BIXI will be folded into the Toronto Parking Authority and the remaining debt on the program's startup loan would be paid off through a deal with Astral Media that lets them off the hook of building 11 of the automated pay toilets that are currently part of its street furniture contract with the city. The TPA would then find a new operator to run the service.
Another possible component of the strategy is a plan put forward by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam to use section 37 funds to bolster the finances of the bike sharing network. This would involve negotiating with developers on deals that would let them out of building a certain number of parking spaces in exchange for funds directed toward BIXI.
In any case, BIXI is here to stay for a while longer yet.
Photo by Dennis Gonzales in the blogTO Flickr pool.
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