Following the money at Bixi Toronto

Help me understand the Bixi Toronto service model. This isn’t meant as a criticism of bike sharing; I like the idea, and am happy to subsidize it. I’m just annoyed with what seems to be the opaque way that it’s funded. Let me see if I have this right:

  • the City of Toronto, like other cities, created a for-profit company to run the service (Bixi Toronto Inc.)
  • the City of Toronto then guaranteed a $4.8MM loan to that company, made by the National Bank; as of April, $3.9MM was outstanding
  • Bixi presumably then paid PBSC Urban Solutions to provide the city with bikes, parking stations, etc. as well as to operate the system providing payment services and customer support

According to PBSC’s website the system should be self sustaining; I would color that slightly and say “self-sustaining with a subsidized interest rate from the municipality,” but whatever.

That said, how much is Bixi Toronto paying PBSC? In what ways? And what’s PBSC’s overhead?

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