Bixi bike-share program has 1,000 members, thanks to…a car company?

Bixi bike-share program has 1,000 members, thanks to…a car company?

Bikes and cars: living together in harmony (Image: Coop ECTO) 

Toronto has been pushing to get 1,000 people to sign up for the Bixi bike-sharing program before November 1, or Bixi would lose its corporate sponsor, ING Direct. There were some concerns that after an initial sign-up surge, there wouldn’t be enough people willing to shell out for the membership, but yesterday evening Toronto Cyclist Union head Yvonne Bambrick announced that Bixi had made its quota. According to the Toronto Star, the last bit of help came from an unexpected place.

BIXI has surpassed the number of memberships required by city council to bring the bike-sharing program to Toronto.

The car-sharing company AutoShare announced Monday night that it bought 100 of the $95 annual subscriptions, pushing the total over 1,000.

The announcement was made to a room full of BIXI subscribers gathered for a party at the Steam Whistle Brewery.

Wait a minute. A car company helped out the two-wheeled scofflaws that are the cause of the city’s problems? Why would it do such a thing? Is there anyone who actually wants a bunch of options for getting around the city, instead of relying on cars for everything? It’s almost as if the whole war on the car is a fantasy made up by certain unscrupulous columnists and exploited by a few desperate mayoral candidates.

Less sarcastically, congratulations to Bixi for making it under the wire. It will be interesting to see if the program takes off next year, and especially interesting to see if it survives the new mayor and council.

BIXI reaches 1,000-member target [Toronto Star]