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1 rating: 5.0
A public bicycle sharing system launched in May 2009 in Montreal.

BIXI is a public bicycle sharing system launched in May 2009 in Montreal. The system provides 3,000 bicycles and 300 stations located around Montreal's central core.  Phase 2, increasing the actual system to 5,000 bicycles and 400 stations, will … see full wiki

1 review about BIXI

Bixis: Bike Share System in Montreal Looking Good--If You're Not a Cabbie

  • Aug 26, 2009
  • by
Review update on 12/01/09

BIXI stations removal from BIXI on Vimeo.

The farm panel on CBC's noon program (one of the most popular segments on this otherwise quite urban station: go figure)  over the last few weeks has talked about bringing cows and sheep inside for the winter: it will be too cold here for them to spend much of their time outside for the next three or four months. But it's not only livestock that needs protection from winter.  This morning, as the first appreciable snow lingered on the lawns, I noticed that the last of Bixis had also been gathered in.

More than a million rides were taken on the new bike share/rental system since it began in earnest last spring. Despite some problems at the beginning it seems to have been a huge success. The disappearance of Bixis from the streets doesn't mean that bike traffic has stopped in Montreal though.  Despite the slipperiness there were many cyclists  when I was out earlier.  Now I must go remove the icy snow from the front steps:  I kept thinking yesterday it would all melt, but it didn't.  Must get myself in winter mode too.

When a taxi driver complains about Bixis cutting back on clients you’ve got something that is more than just a gadget.

The big question for me when the Bixi, Montreal’s bike share program, was rolled out last spring was: who would use them? Bike riding has grown around here in the last few years, as more bike paths have been constructed on busy streets. Bike traffic is even approaching a critical mass on some side streets. Everybody who might want to ride a bike already has one, right?

No. The locals have figured out how to use the bikes for short strips across town which is what was intended. “It’s real competition for the short trips,” a cabbie told me last week.

They cost $5 a day or $78 a season. Then you can ride for 30 minutes without cost. Fees increase rapidly if you don’t return the bike too one of the stands: the second half hour costs $1.50, the third, $3, and $6 for subsequent half hours. The idea, of course, is not to compete with standard tourist bike rentals, but to provide bikes for short trips, the way Vélib does in Paris.

The latest figures show 8,419 subscribers, 77,070 occasional users, 278 installed stations for a total of 3,612,799 kilometers travelled. Initially there were complaints about vandalism to the Bixi stations and a certain amount of lack of coordination in transferring the bikes around (a key element is making sure the bikes are where the people wanting them are which means some trucking the around town.) But I haven’t heard complaints the last few weeks, and certainly it’s clear that the bikes at the station in the next block are being used.

The Bixi folks are hoping to sell the bike system around the world: London and Boston have just signed on, while Bixis got a try-out in Manhattan and Los Angeles a few days ago. That the system, developed where sane folks don’t ride bikes from mid-November until the end of March, is getting such a welcome in more temperate climes seems to me quite remarkable.

Mid-November, by the way, is what the cabbie is waiting for. “Then business will pick up, “ he said.

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December 01, 2009
Hi Mary, got your update up. Love the new addition of the video! :)
August 27, 2009
I thik the current bike share movement started in Lyon, France. When we were there three years ago, they already had an active program, and since the city is divided between the river valley and the heights it worked well. You coud ride around in the flats, check your bike, take a tram or bus up the hill and then ride around up there. When we were in Paris last year VĂ©lib was really going full blast. Like Montreal, they've had some problems with vandalism, but apparently things work quite well there. The Montreal program is in the central neighborhoods for this year, with plans on expansion next year. And they're trying to sell it elsewhere, hence the demonstratons in places like LA.
August 26, 2009
That's great that there's a program like this in Montreal! The first time that i had eve heard of this concept was when I was in Guangzhou, China, and I wondered if the Western world ever have anything like this. Can't wait till they make it to San Francisco and Berkeley!  As always, thanks for sharing! :)
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