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.”

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