Monday, September 22, 2008
Introducing Montreal's Bixi
On Sunday, September 21, Montreal's mayor Gérald Tremblay kicked off their city's newest transit service - Bixi - with 40 bikes at four stations for a 6-week free fall demonstration period before a grand launch next April 15 with 2,400 bikes. The program's name (sounds like "Dixie" with a B instead of a D), a combination of bicycle and taxi, was created by an individual in a public contest and voted on by the program's future customers.
"High-tech and vandalism-resistant, Montreal's bikes feature comfy seats, three speeds and raised handlebars, and will be stationed at solar-powered docking stations that can be moved according to demand. The first half-hour will be free, the next half hour $1.50, and successive half-hours get pricier; the objective is to use the bikes for short hauls," reports Canada's Globe and Mail.
Additionally, "The parking authority invested $15-million into Bixi, but says it expects to break even; 80 per cent of costs are expected to be defrayed through memberships, which would cost $78 a year or $28 a month." A 24-hour pass is available for $5.
Having recently visited Stationnement de Montreal (Montreal Parking) last month, I was quite impressed with their system and business model. They are one of the first bike-sharing service providers of which I'm aware that are not advertising-centric, but rather mobility-centric as with their other duties with managing Montreal's parking with the quasi-governmental organization. Other mobility providers like departments of transportation take note on this means of provision. This is a new model which I'm sure will do well.
photos credit: Stationnement de Montreal