Long time listener. First time emailer.
Mike, you’re a bike guy so figure you’re the perfect person to give Bike Share Toronto the gears on something.
Here’s the 411 - I used BikeShareTO every day to get to work, to my gym and to get around downtown. Starting in November, I noticed the # of bikes at docking stations went off a cliff, especially downtown, along Bloor and along Danforth. This hasn’t improved and a majority of stations are empty in key spots around the city. See four examples attached from the BST app today. Just a sea of empty docking stations!
BikeShareTO is part of the Toronto Parking Authority, a money-making City of Toronto agency. See below. This was once a great service but it’s totally hit a wall and it’s about time somebody “spoke” up about it… pun VERY much intended.
If you could channel your inner Silverman and go all “watch it, buddy!” to help me and other stranded cyclists, it’d be most appreciated.
Mike's update: I have heard from Mayor Chow's office and they are looking into this. I will report back here if/when I hear something more.
Mike's update #2: I have heard back from Mayor Olivia Chow's office.
Thanks for bringing forward concerns around Bike Share availability. Bike Share is run by the Toronto Parking Authority (TPA). I've been in touch with TPA's Director of the Bike Share program to get an understanding of what is happening from their perspective. TPA reports that they planned for a modest ridership increase of 3.5% this winter compared to last winter. Due to the unusually mild winter, ridership has far surpassed expectations. December saw a 43% increase in ridership, early January (when we had a more seasonal dip in the weather) saw a 10% increase and over the past two weeks there was a 94% increase over the same dates last year. It's great to see so many people feel safe and comfortable choosing to ride a bike in all seasons!
What your reader is noticing is both the effect of higher ridership than expected combined with winter being the time of year Bike Share does the bulk of its maintenance. This maintenance schedule means bikes are more reliably available to Bike Share users in spring and summer. On Monday, for instance, 6,600 of the 9,000 bikes (73%) in the fleet were available to riders. TPA reports that from November to April they aim to have approximately 70% of bikes available. This increases to 85% in May and 90% from June 1 to September 30, decreasing to 85% in October.
Torontonians have made Bike Share a wonderful success story. It plays a significant role in Toronto's effort to move people safely, efficiently and sustainably throughout the city. The City, through the Toronto Parking Authority, will continue to increase investment to support Bike Share's growth. The Mayor's proposed 2024 budget will see Bike Share operating spending increase from $13.4 million to $20.2 million to support day-to-day use and maintenance, while the 10-year capital budget has $33.5 million to implement Bike Share's Expansion Plan. These investments will add more stations and bikes, which will be used to increase the density of the existing network, support new transit infrastructure across the Finch West and Eglinton LRT lines, as well as around Scarborough GO stations and North York Centre.
Mayor Chow is excited to continue supporting Bike Share's growth so that it matches Torontonians' needs and becomes a safe, fast and affordable option for more and more people across the city.
Please be in touch if you have any further questions.