Tuesday, May 03, 2011

BIXI launches in Toronto!

The rollout has been a little tepid. The website is annoying. Subscribers are peeved. But who cares, BIXI Toronto has launched!

My local BIXI station. Yay BIXI!

This is a good day for cycling in Toronto. The city just got a bit better.

BIXI is a public bike system that lets people rent bicycles from a plethora of stations scattered across the downtown core [There are about a thousand bikes and 80 stations at the moment]. I can't foretell whether the program will succeed over the long term -- the pricing scheme is out of whack for a cheapskate like me -- but launching a program like this is never easy. The organizers should be proud of getting to this point and making it a reality in spite of countless obstacles.

The explanation of the fee structure is confusing; I'm still puzzling it out. (The terms and conditions don't match the fee structure on the main website, currently. For subscribers, is the initial trip free for 30 min. or 45? Are annual subscriptions $95, or $78?) My kneejerk feedback on the fee structure is: this is stupid.

It's also not clear to me whether they've launched with sufficient coverage in order to make the service useful. We'll see.

There will be many areas for improvement and expansion, but that will only happen as the service irons out the kinks through experience and usage. It will be a challenging road ahead, but I am heartened by this launch.

Congratulations BIXI, long may you ride!

UPDATE: an excellent video explaining how BIXI works: