BIXI is public transit: Stintz proposes TTC take on BIXI for the public good

We might still get the City to treat BIXI as public transportation. TTC Chair Karen Stintz will make a motion at City Council this week asking city staff to see if it would make sense for the TTC to take over the financially troubled BIXI Toronto. (Photo credit: Ian Muttoo)

“I absolutely see BIXI as being an integral part of public transit in the city,” Stintz said in an interview Sunday evening. “We’re having a discussion next week about the future of BIXI and I intend to move a motion to request a review of whether the TTC could actually take over the BIXI portfolio.”

Stintz said doing so might allow more BIXI bike share stations to be added at TTC stations to complement the existing transit system.

Stintz's strong stance on BIXI as public transportation is a breath of fresh air. The Mayor has taken the knee-jerk reaction that he'll have nothing to do with BIXI. It's the only proposal thus far that suggests a long-term plan for BIXI. Montreal's public transit agency, STM, is interested in absorbing BIXI, and the City of Montreal is giving direct funding to expand and cover shortfalls.

It's good that Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam is also offering some proposals, though they tend to center on getting small amounts of funding from the private sector (here and here), but it would be much better if she'd just show strong support for folding BIXI into the TTC. To look to developers to install a few stations here and there in underground parking as in Wong-Tam's proposal, will do little for BIXI's survival nor is it particularly practical. What BIXI needs for being viable is expansion on the scale of Montreal's BIXI.

Councillor Mike Layton had already managed to negotiate a deal with a developer for one station. But one new BIXI station a year would mean that it would take 350 years to reach Montreal's soon to be 450 stations! If BIXI Toronto were to reach 450 stations within the next five years (a reasonable hope in my mind) that means we'd need to make 70 deals with developers a year. It is unrealistic that we'd be able to do that, especially considering that only Layton has so far approached developers for BIXI stations.

It's a bit odd to see a left-winger look first to the private sector when a right-winger sees BIXI as an integral part of public transportation. BIXI could do a lot to relieve the pressure off of the crowded streetcars, subways and buses. It's good to see the TTC Chair take BIXI seriously and I hope that the centre and left of City Council can get behind Stintz's proposal. There's more hope for BIXI in the TTC than making small deals with developers.

UPDATE: A source has told me that Councillor Stintz will probably be making a motion at the next TTC meeting, May 24th, proposing that the TTC take over BIXI.

Comments

Mobility politics are interesting... eg.the observation of Mr. Layton dealing with private sector and Ms. Stintz embracing TTC involvement in Bixi. There was another most curious split in votes in a motion to study doing tolls on Gardiner and DVP c. last summer. Definitely NOT the usual split!

In NYC, the new bike-share scheme is just about opened.
http://travel.ca.msn.com/nycs-bike-share-largest-in-the-country-to-begin
In that link there's an astounding feat compared to Toronto, where we're removing bike lanes:
"But the city has added 300 miles of new bike lanes in the past five years, plus 200 more miles of greenways and routes in parks. Long stretches along the Westside Highway and the Brooklyn waterfront have been redone with bikes in mind. " Did they do an EA for every one of them?

As example how Bixi complements the TTC: from the burbs, I drive to Kennedy station, park and ride the subway to Sherbourne. There, grab a Bixi and cycle to my destination downtown. I love it and the TTC has one rider less in the core: that's a good thing as they are getting desperate to find ways top relieve the Yonge line and could use a little help.

We need Bixi in Toronto. What a great program but we really need to expand it maybe Bloor St W or even over to the Danforth. More area means more money from membership its growth.

Besides Rob Ford could use it too

A natural expansion route for Bixi is along the Martin Goodman Trail. In the summer, Sunnyside Beach is a favourite destination of many. Start with a pilot from say Bathurst to the Thunderbird bridge. I see Bixi bikes there already, especially on the weekiends. Cherry beach to the Beaches could support Bixi too. Stations at both sides of the Ex during the CNE would be popular and full