Montreal

Bixi recommends return of bike-sharing service in 2015

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's administrative board unveils 5-year plan, asks for $2.9M annual city contribution

Bixi was launched in Montreal in 2009 and despite financial troubles, became a model for bike-sharing around the world. (Luc Lavigne/Radio-Canada)

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). 

Suzanne Lareau, one of Bixi's volunteer administrators, says Bixi is the envy of cities without bike-sharing services. (Radio-Canada)
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.

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