bike share toronto

Massive 'glacial-pace' line at Toronto bike share station raises questions about system

A massive lineup at a Bike Share station in Toronto earlier this week is raising questions about how the city's bike-sharing system could be better managed in high-traffic areas during rush hour. 

The lineup, which formed outside a Bike Share Toronto "superstation" at King Street West and Bay Street, was captured in a photo and shared on Reddit, where it amassed hundreds of responses and ignited lots of polarizing discussions. 

Bike Share superstations are staffed with team members at high commuter locations, offering unlimited bikes and spaces to dock from Monday to Friday between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. 

Despite this, the line was reported to be moving at a "glacial pace" by the original poster. 

"Oh I was in that line this morning lol. It was taking so long that I basically gave up and biked to Church and Adelaide where I found an empty bike lock," one person commented in the thread. 

The glacial-pace bike return line
byu/rl-player intoronto

"I know the Toronto Parking Authority has been struggling to keep up with the demand they've seen for bike share. The City has given them more funds, but these funds were allocated based on plans which saw demand for bike share increasing at a much lower pace than it has," they continued. 

"I think they should just take a huge chunk of the right lane on King and install a gigantic bike lock which is normally empty. That and have more than one attendant removing bikes from the lock. Buddy this morning was basically moving every bike by himself and I think for safety reasons they can't move more than one at a time." 

Another person claimed that they once had to wait over 10 minutes to dock a bike at the station at approximately 9 a.m. 

"Part of the reason I no longer have a BikeShare membership is because everyone grabs a bike from my neighborhood and then rides downtown," one user wrote. 

"They may need to increase the cost of the annual membership and put it towards: redistribution expenses, more docking stations, mobile docking stations that can be used at busy times to provide/accept bikes as needed," they suggested. 

"In theory I love the program, but I hate that if I wanted to run errands right now I'd have to walk 15 minutes to get a bike, and there might not be a bike available for my return," another comment reads. 

The photo emerges at a time when the future of Toronto's bicycle-sharing system could be on the rocks, amid tension between the City and the Toronto Parking Authority (TPA) over their profit-sharing agreement. 

According to a CBC report last month, the conflict boils down to disagreements over how to share the millions of dollars accumulated by publicly-owned parking lots. 

The TPA is arguing for a new profit-sharing agreement, noting that it will need to "defer over $14 million" in capital spending if a new plan is not finalized, which could specifically impact Bike Share Toronto. 

The last profit-sharing agreement between the agency and the City expired in 2019, however, its terms remain in effect and require the TPA to give $38 million per year to the City, or 85 per cent of its profits, whichever is greater. 

The City says that it will continue to work with the agency to finalize a new profit-sharing agreement, and that more information will be provided at a meeting of the TPA board on May 28. 

Lead photo by

Reddit/rl-player


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