Bixi public bike program is weak on membership numbers—so far
Like Montreal and Paris, Toronto is becoming a bike-sharing city. With sponsorship from ING Direct, the city is hoping to sign up 1,000 members at just under $100 a pop before Novemeber, or the plan is going to fall apart. In the first two weeks of the membership drive, though, the city has signed up fewer than 400 people. The CBC reports that the sign-up has been less than was hoped for:
So far, the program has only registered 375 memberships, a number that is “discouraging,” given Toronto’s 2.5 million residents, said Rose Malcolm of the city’s cycling infrastructure department in an email.
David Windle, who uses his bicycle regularly, is balking at the $95 annual membership fee. The fee is too high, he said, especially as a bicycle can be purchased for just a little more.
“If it’s up in place and you see how this works, then you may want to jump on it but for now — like wow.”
Like wow indeed. There’s also the fact that Bixi was rolled out halfway through the summer, when many cyclists had already laid out money for spring tune-ups and new bikes. If Bixi had been rolled out in the spring, the city might have had a faster uptake.
It’s not November yet, so there’s still time to round up another 600 or so members. (Dan Egan from the city says he’s “fairly confident” they will.) It’s not a terrible deal—especially if you don’t want to worry about theft or maintenance—but perhaps the city had been hoping to win something by more than the skin of its teeth for once.
• Toronto Bixi bike-share response lukewarm [CBC News]
• Bixi Toronto Needs You! [Bixi]
10 thoughts on “Bixi public bike program is weak on membership numbers—so far”
I don’t they have done a good job of promoting it . This is the first I’ve heard of it. I will sign up now
Yeah, it does seem a bit steep, especially looking at Montreal’s rates.
There’s no clear reason why Toronto’s rates are more, but Toronto Bixi will be a year-round system whereas Montreal’s is seasonal.
The City needs to hire an ad agency to promote this. The pop-up locations are good, but aren’t generating the buzz needed to get people to sign up nearly a year in advance.
Your second paragraph “Like wow indeed…” makes little sense. The system will launch next spring, and to think that a campaign in the summer prior isn’t working because cyclists already have bikes, well, it shows a misunderstanding of the system … which brings us back to the need for better advertising and promoting.
It’s too bad that membership is low so far. But as others mentioned, it rolled out a little late and many people I see around town are riding frames from back in the day that probably don’t cost that much to purchase. Plus they should have gone seasonal and charged a lower membership fee.
having used the system frequently in Paris I think we are not comparing the same service. In Paris, anyone can put their credit card and take a bike. The first 30 minutes are free. No registration required which promotes the use by tourist and impulse use. We missed a great opportunity to this right by bringing bureaucracy into a simple approach as the french have done (for one).
gregory: The Velib system in Paris has both a daily use rate and a subscription system. As does the Montreal Bixi system and as will the Toronto Bixi system. Casual users can pay $5 per 24/hrs with unlimited use so long as each “ride” is less than 30 minutes in duration.
Toronto is not “missing” any opportunity here. This preliminary push is to establish the demand for the system. Unfortunately, those who will benefit most from the system probably won’t even hear about it until it’s on the streets.
Also, please point me in the direction of bicycles that cost $100, include a lock and lights and actually work.
How is this response lukewarm?
In 3 weeks they have 375 subscriptions. That’s 125 subscriptions a week.
At that rate you get 1000 subscriptions in two months…
Well before the November 30 deadline…
I am too worried about being hit by a car to ever cycle downtown. Two people I know were knocked off their bikes by cars and suffered cuts and very bad bruises.
What are the numbers at now that we are entering October? I’d be Really surprised if they didn’t meet their goal. Can anyone give us an update?
Apparently they’re around 700 now.
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