Montreal 1 x 0 Toronto

Remember when I raved about Bicing, Barcelona’s bike share program?  I was so impressed I even wrote to a city councillor here in Toronto who supports cycling as a means of public transit to suggest this is the way to go. He answered with the usual “Yes, I know, we are looking into many options, bla bla bla”. Well, Montreal just did it. Meet Bixi. I really need to move back to Montreal… sigh…

Author: guerson

Born and raised in Brazil, a Canadian stole my heart and took me to Canada in 1999. After seven years between Montreal and Toronto, we then moved to Barcelona, Spain, where I did research for my PhD thesis. This blog began as a chronicle of our adventures while living in Barcelona and exploring the old world and has acquired a life of its own after we moved back to Canada.

6 thoughts on “Montreal 1 x 0 Toronto”

  1. Danilo,

    A U of T! :P
    Mas falando sério, Toronto é bem legal também. Em certas áreas (como a política, a diversidade, e a tolerância) é bem melhor. Montreal ganha em outras áreas como o inverno (que eu acho bem mais bonito), a comida, uma atitude mais europeia, e a moradia mais barata.

    bjo

  2. Toronto had one for years but it failed because not enough Torontonians used it. From 2001 – 2006 Bikeshare had a fleet of yellow bikes throughout the downtown core with a number of hubs.

    I liked the Velib program in Paris but it was pretty expensive – both for the users and the city. I wonder if a program like that could ever really flourish in Canadian cities where biking is only really practical for half the year? To make it work would require a huge investment from the city which is already strapped just trying to maintain the existing transit options.

    More bike lanes would be a start. Paint doesn’t cost much!

  3. Hi Christian,

    But these projects go far beyond the model used by Bikeshare here in Toronto. From what I heard about Bikeshare, there weren’t too many bikes or enough hubs and that the bikes were of mix quality for it to become really popular. Even in Amsterdam, the initial bike share programs didn’t really work well because the technology to track bikes and attach a bike to a person wasnt really there.

    A program like Vélib is not expensive for the tax payer. It pays for itself! Vélib had more than 200,000 subscribers within the first year of service. At 29 euros a year (not much for the individual user; I’m a bit disappointed that they will charge so much more in Montreal), that means nearly 6 million dollars/year for the system to maintain itself!

    Both in Paris and Barcelona there’s a station at nearly every block, sometimes several. It takes less time to check out a bike than it does to unlock your own bike. And in places with a lot of bike theft it has solved the problem of many people who would have liked to cycle to and from work but don’t want to worry about their bikes being stolen.

    In Barcelona it has really encouraged more people to cycle. Much more people are using it as a means of transportation.

    As for the weather, I used to think the same way as you but apparently, one of the cities in which this project has really taken off is Oslo. If Oslo can manage it, I think we shouldn’t have a problem in Toronto!

    But you are absolutely right about having more bike lanes. All the major roads should have them.

  4. The common idea that Bikeshare in Toronto wasn’t popular or that it wasn’t getting used enough is completely false!!

    It’s just a rumour that the media picked up on when the Community Bicycle Network board decided to put Bikeshare on ice in 2006. The one and only reason Bikeshare failed was that it could no longer get enough grants to keep it running.

    Bikeshare was popular. We know that if Toronto gets one running again on a more financially sustainable basis that people WILL use it.

    CBN is now renting the Bikeshare bikes for $10 per day instead of the old price of $50 per year. Plus we only have one hub. Even at this price it is really popular since people pay $30 per day at other bike rental locations.

    Popularity was NEVER a problem.

    Herb
    Community Bicycle Network, Chair

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s