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TTC will study Bixi integration

TORONTO – The TTC has taken another step closer to taking over the Bixi bike-share program.

On Thursday, TTC board members approved a motion brought forth by chair Karen Stintz for a report on the feasibility and expected cost of integrating the service.

The board will also request that any decision on the Bixi matter be held off until the report is brought to the executive committee for consideration.

In April, city staff recommended the city take over the program and put it under transit’s wing.

However, Mayor Rob Ford says the troubled Bixi program should be “dissolved” because it is losing money. He said moving it to the TTC would not solve the money problem but just move it to another jurisdiction.

Of the over $4-million loan city hall gave Bixi, it has only paid back about a quarter of it.

The Montreal-based company still owes the city $3.9 million.

A poll conducted by Forum Research showed that more than half of Torontonians approve of a plan for the city to take over Bixi and put bike stations at TTC stops.

Meanwhile, the TTC board also supported a motion brought forward by Coun. Josh Colle endorsing the Metrolinx Plan — The Big Move. The motion also asked for dedicated revenue tools to be implemented by the province to fund the plan.

Ford said he does not support a funding formula brought forth by Metrolinx, which includes proposed taxes and user fees including a five-cent gas tax, a parking levy, a one-per-cent sales tax increase, a 15-per-cent hike in development charges, implementing high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes, and implementing “pay for parking” at transit stations.

The board also supported recommendations in the city manager’s April report and the May resolutions of council, and that the TTC CEO conveys this support to the province and Metrolinx.

They also approved the issuance of a new Request for Proposals (RFP) for retail opportunities within the TTC and a set of principles and terms and conditions to facilitate an extension of the current lease agreements, or new agreements with Gateway to commence on May 1, 2014 and expire on April 30, 2018.

Gateway Newsstands runs 65 outlets on TTC property.

With files from CityNews.ca staff