Bixi recommends return of bike-sharing service in 2015
Bixi's administrative board unveils 5-year plan, asks for $2.9M annual city contribution
The not-for-profit board that runs Montreal's bike-sharing service known as Bixi recommended bringing back the popular service in 2015 and unveiled its five-year plan to keep it afloat.
Bixi Montreal, as the not-for-profit administrative board is known, was set up in March by Mayor Denis Coderre as a way to save the fledgling — and flailing — service from bankruptcy.
Bixi had fallen on hard times while under the stewardship of the Public Bike System Company, known in French as the Société de vélos en libre-service (SVLS).
The city bought Bixi’s local assets for $11.9 million in February, deducting it from the amount SVLS owed on a loan from Montreal.
Board member Suzanne Lareau of Vélo Québec said it has become essential for major cities in the 21st century to have a bike-sharing service.
"Cities that don't have one envy us, and it's not for nothing that we see 500 cities in the world that currently have a bike-sharing service. And it's only gone up over the years," Lareau said.
The highlights of Bixi Montreal's five-year plan include:
- Complaints dropped 89 per cent between 2013 and 2014.
- Bixi's bikes are in good shape and should last until 2019 with annual maintenance.
- Develop Bixi's clientele and work on more profitable business partnerships.
- Maximize three particular revenue streams: Membership and usage fees; promotions, sponsorships and partnerships; advertising.
- Ask the City of Montreal for an annual contribution over five years of $2.93 million.
Bixi Montreal said it had 33,216 active members and that 106,000 people used the service in the 2014 season.
More than 3 million trips were made over Bixi's 210 days of operation this year. These numbers are as of Nov. 15.
A spokesman for Coderre said he won't comment on Bixi Montreal's five-year plan today, but will announce the future of Bixi this week.