Monday, November 11, 2013

Some Reflections on BIXI

I work near the Avenue Road and Bloor intersection in downtown Toronto. Many tourists visit that area. The Royal Ontario Museum and '5th Avenue of Toronto' are located there, as well as the University of Toronto and the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Nearby is a BIXI Bicycle Station with 20 bicycle slots. On a daily basis I see tourists and others gravitating to the BIXI bikes. Obviously, they see it as an easy way to take in the sights. The University campus especially lends itself to bicycle tourism, as does the Kensington Market and Queen St. West.

I use BIXI, too, and often have a chance to talk with tourists and help them get started on the BIXIs. Many come from Europe, where bicycle sharing started. They are happy to know that Toronto has BIXI.

BIXI is an incredible idea. 'Bi' from bicycle and the 'xi' of taxi is the etymology of the work. You can go anywhere in the Toronto core from one BIXI station to another: get on at one point and leave the bicycle at another, like a taxi (with exercise). It offers one great alternative to the automobile and transit.

Established in 2011, BIXI has now become a part of Toronto's downtown life and culture. It will be a sad day, if BIXI has to leave the city. I, for one, don't want that to happen. We all benefit from having BIXI. Still small in scale compared to other cities, it will take a while to build up the momentum to become self-supporting. Until then and until more BIXI bikes are on around the city, we need to lend them a hand. Get a BIXI key, it is the key to the city.

We, as cyclists, all want to see the city benefit from the real joy of riding a bicycle. Supporting BIXI is one great way to do this. To express your support write to your councillor asking her or him to support BIXI and bicycling in Toronto. Find where you live on this map and get in touch with your councillor.

Some additional information on public bike share programs can be found here at the Bike-sharing world map. (impressive how it is taking off around the world!)


Jack Howard