In 2007, a bike-sharing program called Vélib’ was introduced in Paris, putting 10,000 new bicycles on the streets. The bikes are designed for short trips, and can be easily rented from hundreds of terminals using a credit card. The project has been wildly successful and has already expanded to 17,000 bikes.
Montreal now has a similar program called Bixi (the name derives from the words “bicyclette and taxi”.) They started in 2009 with 3,000 bikes and quickly expanded to 5,000.
In Toronto, we had our own program called BikeShare, from 2001 to 2006. It was run by the Community Bicycle Network, and had 150 bikes across 16 hubs. Sadly, the program was shut down due to lack of funding.
But bike sharing is about to come back to Toronto, and it’s gonna be BIG. This spring, the company that runs Bixi in Montreal is going to be unveiling a system of public bikes in Toronto. The program will begin with 1,000 bikes at 80 terminals in the downtown area, and hopefully grow each year.
I’m pretty excited about the program, and I’ve already bought my one-year pass for $95. That’s an entire year of free biking, for the same price as one month of TTC! (you can buy your membership here!).
The only part I’m not crazy about, is the name. The company wants to call it…. Bixi.
Bixi?! That’s what it’s already called in Montreal! Where’s our sense of Toronto pride?
Toronto doesn’t have a Metro, or an Underground. We have a Rocket.
We doesn’t just have ‘bike racks’. We have Posts and Rings.
Our City Council doesn’t meet in a chamber. They meet in the Clamshell.
Parking lots? We call them Green P!
And we don’t walk underground. We walk in the PATH.
So why should we have a Bixi? Especially when we can easily combine “Toronto” and “Bixi”, into TRIXI!
I suppose it’s unlikely that the company will officially change their branding, but we can still call it whatever we want, right? So I propose that we call it Trixi.
And to keep things interesting and unique in this world so dominated by conformity, I suggest that every city that tries out this new technology also adopt their own name, such as:
Pitsburgh • Pixi
Frankfurt • Fixi
Los Angeles • Lixi
Venice • Vixi
Detroit • Dixi
But seriously, this is a great step for Toronto. The program will increase bike usage, decrease bike injuries (safety in numbers) and help bring bike culture into the mainstream.