With ridership at a record high, Bixi says it will add more bikes and docking stations in 2017.
On Wednesday, the city and the non-profit company managing the bike-sharing service announced a $9.4-million improvement plan for Bixi over three years.
- $3.9 million is to be spent to buy 1,000 new bicycles and 80 docking stations, increasing the number of available bikes by 20 per cent next season.
- $869,000 is to be spent updating technology at pay terminals to allow payment by OPUS cards as well as contactless payments by smartphone, for example.
- $1.7 million is to be spent between 2017 and 2019 to update individual docks so that they, too, can accept contactless payments.
- $3 million is to be reserved to update and replace aging bikes and equipment.
After registering record growth last year, Bixi said the trend has continued in 2016. An average of 21,000 trips are taken on Bixis every day, an increase of 31.25 per cent from 2014.
Bixi president Elaine Farley said the network is saturated, and the company must now add bikes to maintain its growth.
About 15 to 20 per cent of bikes or docks are not available during the morning and afternoon rush hours, she said. Too many stations are either full or empty, meaning people either can’t rent a bike or return one to a dock.
However, the increase in the number of bikes next year does not mean Bixi is expanding its territory. Many of the new stations are to fill holes in the existing network, Farley noted. Locations of the new stations will be made known next spring.
Bixi expects that improving the technology at stations so that riders can more easily reserve and pay for bikes with their phones or OPUS cards will help the overall growth of the company, Farley said.