Family-owned bike rental wins back Island contract
The family left devastated after the city chose to not renew its bike rental contract for Toronto’s Centre Island is overjoyed after learning it will get the deal after all.
“(It’s) just overwhelming. It feels like we went to the pits of the rollercoaster and now I feel like we’re on another high,” said Priya Rao, whose parents have co-owned Toronto Island Bicycle Rental for the past 32 years.
Matthew Cutler, spokesperson for Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation, said that “while we were negotiating the agreement with the successful bidder, they voluntarily withdrew their bid from the process.”
The city has proceeded to negotiate a new contract with Toronto Island Bicycle Rental, which was its second choice based on its proposal, said Cutler. The successful bidder did not give a reason for its withdrawal, he added.
Earlier, the city had selected a different company for a five-year contract, saying it anticipated an “increase in revenue to support Toronto Island Park, and visitors to the Park will be able to access a brand new fleet of bicycles for rent, along with an overall refresh of the bike rental facility at Centre Island.”
The reinstatement of the contract will not come without its challenges; the family-owned business sold off most of its inventory last weekend in an effort to leave the premises by the April 24 deadline.
“We will be bringing a new fleet of equipment this year . . . and we’re looking forward to having fresh, new bikes for everybody,” Rao said. “We’re just now looking forward to business as usual and we’re going to be really, really happy to see every single person from Toronto this year, because they have been really supportive and we cannot tell you from both of our families how much that has meant to us.”