Bike Share Toronto rebalancing efforts led to a 27% Y-o-Y increase in usage

How We Tackle One of the Biggest – and Most Important – Challenges of Bikeshare Operations

Rebalancing Changes Lead to Record-Setting Usage and Membership Growth in Toronto

Achieving rebalancing records for Bike Share Toronto

If you talk with any bikeshare operator, rebalancing is typically the number one operational challenge they face on a day-to-day basis. For dock-based bikesharing systems, “rebalancing” refers to the dynamic distribution of bikes from stations full (or close to capacity) of bikes to those that are empty (or close to empty). The goal of active rebalancing is to achieve a state of supply/demand equilibrium, where all stations have an equal number of docks and bikes. With the right rebalancing strategy and resources in place, a mobility operator can help drive significant increases in system usage, revenue, and customer satisfaction by coming as close as possible to ensuring a customer is within a five-minute walk of a bike or left an open dock at a station closest to their destination.

In Toronto, Shift Transit manages the day-to-day operations of the Bike Share Toronto program, featuring 6,850 bikes and 625 stations. Bike Share Toronto is the 3rd largest bikesharing service in North America and exceeded 2.4M trips in 2019, making it one of the most heavily utilized systems on the continent. 

As part of our duties, Shift Transit is responsible for the rebalancing of the system. At the beginning of the year, we anticipated 2020 would be our busiest year yet (spurred on by a system expansion of 160 stations and 1,850 new bikes) and made a number of changes to further enhance and optimize our rebalancing efforts to ensure we were going to meet increased customer demand head-on, including:

Vehicle + Staffing Optimization

Our rebalancing vans are the backbone of our rebalancing efforts. Shift Transit field agents transport bikes from full stations to empty stations on a 24/7/365 schedule, preemptively and dynamically responding to bike/station imbalances. In early 2020, Shift Transit increased the carrying capacity of our rebalancing vehicles to be able to multiply the efficiency of each pick-up/drop-off stop, leading us to acquire 12 vehicles that were specifically outfitted for transporting bikeshare bikes. The upgraded vehicles were specifically designed to maximize space so the team could move more bikes. And to further support our rebalancing efforts, we built out a robust 24/7 staffing plan to ensure we capitalized on maximizing productivity and efficiency during the overnight shifts while the city of Toronto (sort of) sleeps.

Bikeshare rebalancing vans for Bike Share Toronto

Implementing New AI Rebalancing Software

Earlier this year, we began to use a new rebalancing software tool to help us further analyze bike and station supply and demand scenarios based on the time of day and day of week. This AI solution leans significantly on historical usage patterns (Bike Share Toronto is almost ten years old), while monitoring the daily changes in ridership patterns. With the new software, we programmed top performing stations as priority for rebalancing actions to ensure that hotspots within our Toronto system footprint always have available bikes and docking points. The result was that these priority stations saw a 68% improvement in bike and dock availability Y-o-Y, along with a 23% increase in usage (August-October ‘19 vs ‘20).

Quickly pivoting our strategy during COVID-19

COVID-19 drastically changed how people use the Bike Share Toronto system. With social distancing measures in place, our ridership began (and continues to) lean heavily towards recreational trips, rather than commuter trips. We also saw a significant increase in the number of casual users, as Toronto residents who rarely or never used the Bike Share Toronto system sought out bikes for a safe, healthy way to get around town. Through weekly analysis of casual usage trends, we operationalized these new insights by deploying pop-up valet stations in residential neighborhoods, staffed by our community ambassador teams. These stations allowed members to end their trip without having to worry about finding a docking point, thereby enhancing their experience.

As a result of all of these changes, we have seen significant Y-o-Y gains in our most important rebalancing KPIs, including:

  • 68% improvement in # of empty stations
  • 66% improvement in bike availability
  • 46% improvement in # of full stations

*Data collected between May 1 – October 31 2019  vs May 1 – October 31 2020

Best of all, these increases in our rebalancing performance have directly led to sizeable usage and customer gains for the system, including a 27% Y-o-Y increase in trips and a 76% growth in membership (casual and annual members). 

In sum, even after 3+ years at the helm of Bike Share Toronto, rebalancing remains one of the most challenging – and rewarding – operational puzzles that we encounter on a daily basis. However, armed with new and improved vehicles, an AI software tool specifically built for bikeshare operations, and a decisive pivot to meeting our new customers where they now are, we have markedly improved our rebalancing activities, which have directly contributed to record-breaking usage gains for the Bike Share Toronto system.

Bravo to our entire Shift Transit Toronto team for these accomplishments!!!!

For more information on Bike Share Toronto, please visit:

Shift Transit Oversees Bike Chattanooga's Record Breaking Success

Shift Transit Oversees Bike Chattanooga’s Record-Breaking Success

Bike Chattanooga Bikeshare Program Thrives Amidst COVID-19

Announces New Member Referral Program for Month of October


Chicago, IL, October 13, 2020 — Today, Shift Transit, a leading mobility operations company and day-to-day operator of the Bike Chattanooga bikeshare program, announced it was spearheading a new member referral program for the Bike Chattanooga bikeshare program. The launch of this campaign coincides with record-breaking ridership and membership gains for the 8-year-old bikesharing service.

For the month of October, for each newly purchased Bike Chattanooga pass or membership on the PBSC/CycleFinder app, the pass holder will receive a unique code to refer a friend to try bikeshare with a free daily pass. A daily pass, valued at $8, gives riders unlimited 60-minute, station-to-station trips for a 24-hour period. The referral program is being launched at a time when bikesharing has become recognized as a great way to remain active and commute on one’s own terms in the midst of COVID-19, while also being able to maintain social distancing.

Since March, the Bike Chattanooga program has remained open, accessible, and safe for all to use. The service has distributed more than 200 free annual memberships to frontline workers, while seeing a 62% usage increase in stations adjacent to medial facilities between April – September. In addition, between January – September, the service has broken a number of system records including:

  • 62% Y-o-Y increase in the number of subscriptions sold
  • 27% Y-o-Y increase in ridership
  • 27% Y-o-Y increase in miles travelled

“We are thrilled to see the record-breaking success of the Bike Chattanooga program in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ben Taylor, Director of Transportation Operations for the City of Chattanooga. “It’s clear that Chattanooga residents and visitors have come to rely on the program as a vital transportation lifeline and we are grateful to be able to partner with Shift Transit to safely provide this service.”

A significant source of these gains has been the service’s 55 electric bikes. With e-bike sales surging across the country, Bike Chattanooga has also benefitted from the growing interest in electric transport. To date, the Bike Chattanooga e-bike fleet has seen a 97% increase in usage Y-o-Y, representing 36% of all system trips.

For more information, visit

Read Official News Release Here

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Shift Transit Awarded 5-Year Contract Extension to Continue Operating Bike Share Toronto Program

Shift Transit Has Overseen Record-Growth Since Assuming Operations of Program in April 2017

Recently Supported System’s 4th Expansion in 4 Years

Chicago, IL, September 17, 2020 — Today, Shift Transit, a leading mobility operations company, announced that following an extensive RFP process, Toronto Parking Authority (TPA) awarded it a 5-year contract to run the day-to-day operations of the Bike Share Toronto program.

The contract, awarded in April 2020, establishes Shift as Bike Share Toronto’s operator, a role which was filled through a memorandum of understanding for the last three years.

Responsibilities under the contract include station installations, bike and station maintenance, bike and station repair, rebalancing, customer care, and marketing and sales.

Most recently, Shift Transit supported Bike Share Toronto’s 4th expansion which added 1,850 new bicycles, 160 stations and 3,615 docking points to the already expansive network, growing the system to a total of 6,850 bikes, 625 stations, 12,000 docking points.

This represents a 35% increase to the current system footprint. This aligned strategically with the City’s ActiveTO initiative that focused on converting 50 km of additional quiet and biking street lanes.

“We are grateful to receive TPA’s vote of confidence with this 5-year contract,” said Eddie Inlow, CEO of Shift Transit. “Shift Transit is extremely proud to power one of the most successful bikesharing programs in North America and looks forward to continuing to work with TPA to further expand on the progress we’ve made over the last few years.”

The 2020 expansion also included the introduction of e-bikes into the fleet by way of a pilot program that includes 300 pedal assist e-bikes and 10 e-bike charging stations available for member use. The e-bikes will allow users to ride up to 25 kilometers per hour and travel up to 70 kilometers without a charge.

Shift Transit Announces Three-Year MoGo Contract Extension Award

Bike Sharing Program Has Grown 70%

CHICAGO, July 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ – Today, Shift Transit, a leading mobility operations company, announced it was awarded a three-year contract extension to continue operating the MoGo bikeshare program in Detroit. This announcement comes on the heels of the system’s first major expansion since the service launched in May 2017, resulting in a 70 percent increase in the system’s footprint and extension into five new neighboring cities.

Shift Transit has been integral to the success of the MoGo program over the course of the last several years,” said MoGo Executive Director Lisa Nuszkowski. “Their flexibility, responsiveness, and emphasis on collaboration are truly appreciated, and we look forward to continue working with them to scale MoGo to new heights.”

“We are honored to receive MoGo’s vote of confidence in our performance with this 3-year contract extension,” said Eddie Inlow, CEO of Shift Transit. “I also want to take this opportunity to thank our terrific Detroit team for all of their hard work and determination over the last several years – they have been essential to our success every step of the way.”

Since the service launched, Shift Transit has served as the system’s sole operator, overseeing station siting and installations, bike/station maintenance, bike/station repair, rebalancing, and customer service. In addition, Shift Transit oversees MoGo’s e-bike program, which includes 50 Boost bikes. The e-bikes have proven to be extremely popular with riders, accounting for more than 30 percent of overall trips, even though they make up less than 10 percent of the fleet.

Last month, the MoGo program expanded its service footprint, adding 31 stations and 140 bikes to its fleet, for a total of 75 stations and 620 bikes. The service also expanded into new parts of the city, including the Livernois and McNichols neighborhood, as well as the cities of Ferndale, Royal Oak, Oak Park, Berkley, and Huntington Woods. The expansion has already paid significant dividends, sparking a 26 percent trip increase year-over-year for the month of June. In addition, through the first six months of 2020, MoGo usage is up 28 percent year-over-year.

Bike Share Toronto Expands for 4th Time in 4 Years Under Shift Transit Leadership

Bike Sharing Program will be the 2nd Largest in North America

On June 9th, 2020, Toronto Mayor John Tory and the Toronto Parking Authority (TPA) announced that the Bike Share Toronto program would expand for the 4th time in 4 years under Shift Transit’s operational leadership. The expansion, featuring an additional 1,850 bikes, 160 stations, and 3,615 docking points, will result in Bike Share Toronto becoming the 2nd largest bike sharing program in North America. In total, the program will now span 625 stations, 6,850 bikes, and 12,000 docking points.

Shift Transit took over day-to-day operational management of the program in April 2017, including station installations, bike/station maintenance, bike/station repair, rebalancing, customer care, and marketing and sales. Since assuming operations, the system has shattered all previous location records, including:

  • 213% increase in the system’s station footprint between 2017 and 2020
  • 76% growth in membership year-over-year, August 2019 – August 2020
  • 33% growth in revenue between 2018 and 2019

The expansion will also spread the system’s reach to include 20 of Toronto’s 25 Wards, bringing the benefits of bike share to almost all corners of the city.

We can’t wait to see current and new members alike take advantage of these new stations and bikes. Happy riding!