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Bixi Toronto is having major financial problems

(Image: Peter Kudlacz)

Despite attracting thousands of subscribers, Bixi Toronto is still having trouble covering its operating costs two years in. The bike sharing program has only paid back $600,000 of its $4.5 million start-up loan and, since the city guaranteed that loan, city staff are recommending council restructure its relationship with Bixi. (Complicating matters, the Montreal-based company that owns Bixi is reportedly looking to sell off its franchises, including the Toronto one.) Bixi’s balance sheet problems probably won’t spell an imminent end to the heavy black bikes, though: several councillors, Karen Stintz and Mike Layton among them, have already reiterated their support for the idea of bike-sharing. They also repeated the oft-heard call for more bikes and more docking stations as a path to self-sufficiency—though Montreal has 411 stations to Toronto’s 80 and still racks up a $7-million deficit each year. [Torontoist]