Andrea Stockton, staff writer
May 3, 2011 — Renting public bikes in Toronto is a simple way to improve air quality and reduce pollution on city streets.
Taking a taxi through the busy streets of Toronto may seem like an ideal method of transportation. But now there's a more eco-friendly way to commute. The initiative is called BIXI and it's a combination of taxi services and biking.
The program began in Montreal two years ago and was launched in the city of Toronto on Tuesday. Torontonians will have year-round access to 1,000 rental bikes set up right in the downtown core. The membership fee is $95 for the year, which is less than what a Metropass would cost for a month.
Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong with the city of Toronto was eager to put a helmet on and pedal through the rainy streets on Tuesday.
“It's good news for Toronto because it provides the option for anybody to cycle in the city of Toronto, anyone in the downtown core...It means that we're not burning more fuel and it means we can get more exercise,” says Minnan-Wong
All users have to do is plug in a Bixi key or credit card at the docking station and wait for a green light to go.
The Bixi program will help residents to leave their car keys at home and become part of the cycling world.
“There's a real truth to the saying, 'strength in numbers' because suddenly 1,000 of these bikes will be plopped down in the downtown core for the general public to use,” says Andrea Garcia with the Toronto Cyclists Union.
Garcia adds with more people on bikes, it will be easier to advocate for improvements in the cycling network. Essentially, it will change the way Torontonians move around the city, in a more healthy way.
Officials say the program has been well received and 1,200 Bixi keys were already mailed out last Wednesday. You can find out more about the program by heading to BIXI Toronto.