Tuesday, May 17, 2011

BIXI, BIXI, BIXI

I was in Toronto over the weekend for a family occasion and noticed that BIXI bikes are operating there as well (see my earlier post with photos of BIXIs in Washington).

This photo and the other one below were taken while driving through the University of Toronto campus (I wasn't at the wheel, my son was, just in case you think that I've taken texting-and-driving to a whole new level).

Bike share programs are wonderful, and the Montreal flavour is probably the very best of the breed.  Solar powered, off the grid, and first class bikes.

In spite of its success, or perhaps because of its success, BIXI is having growing pains, particularly in financing its expansion with sales to New York City, Washington D.C., Toronto, London, and other places that are in the works as well.

I sincerely hope that needed financial assistance will be forthcoming from the City of Montreal town council in short order.

I am among those who believe that we need to change the way we in the U.S. and Canada commute to work.  Bicycles and the infrastructure they require to make them an alternate means of urban transportation are important ingredients in the recipe.

Public bike share programs like BIXI send important messages to urban populations where they are implemented:
  • The community truly cares about its quality of life;
  • More cars in the downtown core is not an acceptable solution;
  • Bicycles are a viable and serious means of getting around;
  • Solutions that consume no fuel, or very little fuel, are by far preferable to those that consume a lot.
 It's certain that there is a cost to implementing a bike share program.  That cost is very much justified.  Implementing a top-notch solution like BIXI makes perfect sense.  The quality of the system and its bikes are an important part of the message.  It means there's a real commitment to make a change, and it means that the users' experience will be a positive one.

So color me strongly in favour.

May the nay-sayers say what they may, and come what may, I say Yeah!!!!
Oh! And while our municipal politicians are busy exporting  our bike share solution to Toronto, they should busy themselves importing Toronto's generous parking solution that makes urban parking free for scooters and motorcycles.  Now that would be a step in the right direction here.

As for the scoot commute and me commuting on my Vespa scooter, it's been lean pickings.

The atrocious and unremitting rainy weather means I drive rather than ride.

Next week the scooter drought will continue.  I'm in Toronto on business on Monday, then off to Calgary for more business for the remainder of the week.

Being a firm believer, as noted in an earlier post, in the law of averages, I will be due for many fine scootering days in the coming weeks and months.

PS: BIXI got it's funding. Hang in there BIXI!

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The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.