The Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation released the Public Bike Forum report, summarizing the results of the public forum and of the stakeholders meeting with officials that was held this last September.
- one half don't want advertising on bikes
- with no public funding companies would search for a commercial sponsor
- bikesharing creates new behaviours and travel patterns
- the smart bike systems must still be accessible to people with various barriers
- most want around 5000 bikes to start off with
- target the downtown and dense nodes in the suburbs, clusters around transit
- needs to be modular like Montreal's Bixi
- the City needs to put forward a well-defined business plan
- the City should look seriously at Montreal's system for how to do it without advertising
For everyone interested in getting an efficient and useful bikesharing system in Toronto needs to read Jonathan Goldsbie's article in Eye Magazine. It appears that Councillor Heaps is willing to give away the project to Astral Media, the company running the street furniture contract. Heaps claims that the contract specifies that Astral Media gets the first right of refusal, despite the fact the contract states that this is only true if street furniture includes advertising. As we've seen with Montreal's Bixi model that it is very possible to have a self-funding system that requires no advertising.
Is Councillor Heaps giving away a public right to safe and useful public transportation to an inexperienced Astral Media, whose interests mainly lie with expanding the number of eyes who see its advertising? What happened to an open bidding process in the City? Is the City falling back to giving special benefits to inside interests? This is all so frustrating and the Councillor and staff are not exactly forthcoming with answers.