by: Vanessa Milne, Marketing Magazine March 31, 2014

Soft-launch marketing to focus on members

Toronto’s Bixi bike sharing program has been rebranded. The Bixi name is out, and Bike Share Toronto is in.

The new name and look were unveiled Monday by the Toronto Parking Authority, which took over the troubled company in December after Bixi couldn’t pay its loans back to the city.

The new logo, which was designed by Toronto-based Mars Philter, closely resembles that of Toronto Parking’s Green P logo.

“We wanted to build on that brand,” says Marie Casista, vice-president of development and marketing for the Toronto Parking Authority. “With Green P comes stability, a lot of business acumen.”

The simple green visual will be featured on the bikes. The 80 bike terminals and more than 1,000 bicycles will also have their old corporate sponsors’ logos removed until new backers are found, Casista says.

While the parking authority now owns the business, Alta Bicycle Share is taking over its operation and management. Alta Bicycle is a Portland-based company that runs bike share programs in major cities such as Chicago and New York.

The company is also responsible for the organization’s new website,, as well as its social media presence.

“In the short term, most of our activity will be social media, primarily engaging the existing members that we have,” says Scott Hancock, general manager of Bike Share Toronto. The work will focus on “how the system is benefitting the members and the community. Divvy bikes in Chicago, for example, they celebrate how many miles, how many calories burned, to draw people in.”

A new pricing structure also reflects this focus on members, with costs rising for one-time users and becoming cheaper for annual and monthly members.

The new organization will be marketed more aggressively after this soft-launch phase. The first major campaign under the new branding will be for Bike Month, says Hancock, which begins with Bike to Work Day on May 26.