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City to take over BIXI Toronto bike-sharing program

TORONTO – As of Spring 2014, BIXI Toronto will be no longer. Instead, it will be the “public bike-share system,” at least until a corporate sponsor signs a “very large cheque,” according to councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong.

Minnan-Wong announced Tuesday that the Toronto Parking Authority would be taking over the operation of the bike-sharing program.

“This is a real win-win-win,” he said.

The parking authority will then be contracting out the operation of the program to a private company.

The bike-sharing program had fallen into financial trouble and was unable to cover the costs of financing its loan.

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As part of the new deal, the city renegotiated a deal with Astral-out-of-home (a division of Bell Media) that had required them to build 20 public toilets. The BIXI deal cancelled 11 of those in exchange for $5 million to pay out the cost of buying the bike-sharing infrastructure.

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Minnan-Wong admitted the program needed to expand; stations would be increased to 102 from 80. He claimed Section 37 deals could be negotiated to procure the necessary funding.

Cycle Toronto was quick to applaud the deal to save the bike-sharing program calling it an “important part for our transit system.”

“They fill the gap between trips too close for transit, but too far to walk,” Jared Kolb, executive director of Cycle Toronto, said in a statement.

Mayor Rob Ford said in May the program should be “dissolved” before being taken over by the city.

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