Bike sharing program out of steam

BikeShare, a multiple award-winning bike lending program run by the Community Bicycle Network, must find a new source of funding or the popular program will shut down. BikeShare is Canada’s longest-running and largest community bike lending initiative.

This week, the program received a Bicycle Friendly Business award in Best Overall from the City of Toronto. BikeShare has also been recognized locally, nationally and internationally by numerous organizations including Transport Canada, the Green Toronto Award, and the Stockholm Awards for Sustainable Development.

“We’ve won awards year after year from the city of Toronto, and have supporters across Canada and the world, but sadly this has not translated into a reliable source of funding,” said Maogosha Pyjor, BikeShare’s Project Manager.

In the last five years the program has put 243 bikes on the road, with 16 hubs across the city and over 2000 members. The program also has a mandate to reach out and serve Toronto’s underprivileged community.  Despite this tremendous success, 2006 has been particularly challenging for BikeShare. Over the spring a number of yellow bikes were systemically vandalized which added to operating costs.

“We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished for Toronto and would like nothing more than to keep building on our success. Bikeshare yellow bikes have raised the profile of cycling in this city and have improved the quality of life of many people,” Pyjor said.

“Cycling has the potential to help alleviate many of this city’s problems, everything from smog and traffic congestion to reducing Greenhouse gas emissions and promoting a healthier lifestyle.  BikeShare has come to be recognized as one the best cycling programs in the world and we’d like nothing more than to keep it going.” She adds.

If you’d like to donate to BikeShare please call 416-504-2918.