March 06, 2023

Let's Talk Bike Share Toronto Pricing

There has been a lot of discussion within Toronto’s cycling community regarding the proposed 2023 Bike Share Toronto pricing which was approved at Friday’s Toronto Parking Authority meeting. Especially regarding the new 24 hour and single ride rates, as well as e-bike surcharges to discourage food couriers from hogging e-bikes. Cycle Toronto called for revisiting the e-bike surcharges and delaying the new pricing to allow for further study, while some users have considered switching to driving in protest of the per minute rates. Let’s take a look at the new rates, how they compare to those for BIXI Montréal, and suggest some improvements ahead of the March 20 Infrastructure & Environment Committee meeting.

Annual Memberships

The existing annual membership rate was $99 for unlimited 30-minute rides and $115 for 45-minute rides, which will increase slightly to $105 and $120 respectively. Thanks to a successful motion from Councillor Chris Moise, the existing overage rate of $4 per 30 minutes will be replaced with a 0.12 per minute to be consistent with other pricing tiers and something I approve. Especially for those cases when a ride takes only a few minutes more than the default 30 (or 45) minutes.

An additional $0.10 per minute will be charged for e-bikes, while a low income annual pass would cost $5.

Short Term Passes

Toronto offered 24 hour and 72 hour passes at $7 and $15 respectively which allowed unlimited 30-minute rides. The 72 hour pass is proposed to be scrapped while the 24 hour pass would more than double to $15 with unlimited 90 minute rides and overage fees of $0.12 per minute. E-bikes would no longer be eligible for this pass.

This change is unacceptable and does not address the need for a pricing tier in between a short term pass and an annual membership. BIXI Montréal offers a monthly membership which I will get back to in a bit.

Single Rides

The single ride currently costs $3.25 for 30 minutes which was roughly the same as a TTC fare ($3.35 as of April 3). The proposed rate would see a $1 undocking fee plus $0.12 per minute for regular bikes (a.k.a. Iconic) or $0.20 per minute for e-bikes. While this new rate structure would mean cheaper rides for 18 minutes or less, those 19 to 30 minutes would cost more. One advantage of this new arrangement is there would no longer be the $4 overage fee every 30 minutes.

For a 30 minute ride, the new rates would cost $4.60 for Iconic bikes or $7.00 for e-bikes. Ouch!

Comparison to BIXI Montréal

From March 15 to May 31, BIXI Montréal charges $89 for a seasonal membership with unlimited 45-minute rides on regular bikes plus $0.11 per minute overage fees. E-bikes cost $0.13 per minute with an annual pass regardless of duration. Considering Montréal’s bike share program only runs from April 15 to November 15 instead of year-round for Bike Share Toronto, it makes Bike Share Toronto’s $120 annual 45-minute pass reasonable. BIXI Montréal also offers a monthly membership costing $20 with the same overages as with their seasonal membership.

Their single ride costs $1.25 to undock plus $0.15 per minute for regular bikes or $0.30 per minute for e-bikes. This would make 30 minute rides cost $5.75 for regular bikes or $10.25 for e-bikes; both of which are significantly higher than Bike Share Toronto’s proposed rate. The pricing for Mobi in Vancouver is even higher than Montréal and the proposed Toronto rates.

Mobi Vancouver's bike share rates for 2023

Suggestions for Improvement

Given the unreasonable rate proposed for the 24 hour pass, I would suggest reinstating the existing rate with a modest price increase to cover inflation. Perhaps $8 for a 24 hour pass and $16 for a 72 hour pass? Another option would be to replace the 72 hour pass with a monthly pass similar to Montréal’s offering of $20 for unlimited 45-minute rides. Similar overage rates ($0.12 per minute) and e-bike surcharges ($0.10 per minute) from the annual membership could then be used for the monthly membership.

For the single ride option, I would suggest including ten minutes with the $1 undocking fee to make a 30 minute ride roughly equal the previous $3.25 rate for the Iconic bikes. An e-bike ride would then cost $5.00 under this scenario. Even if only five minutes were to be included with the undocking fee, the 30 minute cost would become $4.00 for Iconic bikes and $6.00 for e-bikes.

For those eligible for the low income pass of $5 annually, it could be worth offering a reduced e-bike surcharge or waive it altogether. I received a suggestion from Eoin O’Brien to offer a rebate for those who bring e-bikes back to an e-bike charging station. If the PBSC app – or a future app Bike Share Toronto is working on – can identify e-bike charging stations, that could be an option worth investigating.

Next Steps

Those wishing to express their concerns over the proposed bike share rates are encouraged to e-mail, Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie (, and their city councillor once the item has been confirmed for the March 20 Infrastructure & Environment Committee meeting. You can subscribe to the IEC and other committee updates at this website to be notified of the committee agendas one week in advance.

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