2pac? 2 Chainz? How about 2 wheels.
If you’ve ever stared longingly at a bike in Toronto and whispered to yourself “mmmm, I want that” today is your lucky day. Starting now, you can unlock any bike share in Toronto from your phone.
You heard us correctly: you no longer have to wait in line. You no longer have to wrangle with those imposing kiosks/obelisks. You no longer have anything standing between you and pure, unadulterated bicycle bliss. Whether you’re a bike share buff or somebody who only uses it as a last resort during those nights you stayed out way too late drinking pints of cherry soda: we’ve got you.
Before, folks in Toronto used Transit to see which nearby bike share stations had bikes available (5 left? 1 left? None?). But now, they can go one step further: they can buy bike share passes and unlock those bikes from their phone — like some sort of magical, bipedal, app-obsessed wizard.
This week, Toronto announced a major expansion of their bike sharing program — 120 new stations, 1,000 new bikes — operated by our friends at Motivate, and supplied by our other friends PBSC Urban Solutions. In addition to deploying more of their famously indestructible bikes across the city, PBSC developed much of the technology that makes this mobile access possible. Between the integration and the expansion, the rate of bike sharing adoption in the city should rapidly increase from the 70,000 Torontonians that currently rely on it to get around.
We’ve paid close attention to that usage number: we’re the TTC’s most popular public transit app, with hundreds of thousands of active users across the city. And, as bike sharing becomes a major transport mode in Toronto, we wanted to make sure that Torontonians had no trouble getting on a bike just as we make sure they have no trouble catching their bus. We’ll also offer an easy way to access your bikes on days you forget your member key (or if you accidentally throw it into a pit of lava.)
This is just one of the many projects our team has implemented to improve public transit in Toronto. Whether it’s…
- Enabling alarms to notify you when your stop is approaching (for unfamiliar transit lines, or when you’re taking a power nap)
- Receiving push notifications when your transit line is a hot mess
- Finding and booking nearby car2go’s, or checking real-time ETA’s and requesting rides from Uber
- Integrating 15 different transit agencies across the GTA — including real-time tracking for most of them
… Transit has you covered 100.6% of the way.
Toronto is the first Canadian city that can unlock bike share vehicles from Transit App. And if our US deployments in Aspen, Columbus, Chattanooga, and Chicago are any indication, this feature is going to be a huge hit. For example, in Chicago (which operates the US’ second-biggest bike sharing system), about 20% of all trips are now accessed through Transit App, and we’ve sold thousands of bike share passes. And this is just a month after launching in Chicago! We expect the impact to be just as big in Toronto.
So what next? if you’re an early adopter, bike share enthusiast, or are easily persuaded by cheeky product announcements, you can:
- Download (and open) Transit
- Tap the nearest bike share station on the map, and select “purchase access pass”
- Create an account with your payment details
- Receive your unlock code, release your bike, and start riding!
There’s no need to start from the bottom now. Today, you can start from a bicycle.