Mar 16, 2011 at 07:27 PM
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ING DIRECT To Sponsor Toronto's Soon To Be Launched Bike-Sharing System

ING DIRECT Canada has signed on to be the primary sponsor for the public bike program for Canada's largest city, BIXI Toronto. The bike-sharing program is expected to be launched throughout the city in May 2011, and will be modeled after Montreal's BIXI public program, which has tripled membership since its 2009 launch.

“I’m pleased to welcome ING DIRECT as our primary sponsor for BIXI Toronto – a program that will enable us to give people more options to getting around the city while improving our transportation network,” said Mayor David Miller. “This partnership is another example of how we are making Toronto a more green and liveable city."

“Public bike systems like BIXI can significantly reduce the cost of commuting and make a healthy impact on our cities and our lives,” said Peter Aceto, President and CEO of ING DIRECT Canada. “We are always excited to help Canadians save their money so being a part of bringing BIXI to the Toronto community is a great fit for ING DIRECT.”…

Regular users of the system will be able to purchase a “pass” for periods of time ranging from one month to one year and will receive a BIXI-key. Members can use their membership cards to take out a bike at any station. For registered users, there is no trip fee if the bicycle is returned to a bike station within 30 minutes. A fee is charged for any trip longer than 30 minutes. An unregistered user can also use the service for a fee.

The bicycle system in Paris, France (Velib) is one of the largest public bike programs in the world with more than 20,000 bikes and is sponsored by outdoor advertising giant, JCDecaux. In its first year of operation, Velib is said to have brought in more than £10 million.