Monday, July 6, 2009

Kickin' it into High-gear this Summer in Montreal

BIXI has become so popular in Montreal that the city will be expanding its bike-sharing service from 3,000 to 5,000 bikes ahead of time. The expansion was to occur next year, but due to the program's successes and the public demand, Phase II of adding 2,000 more bikes into unserved parts of the city will be done this summer. The following is a press release from Stationnement de Montréal, the operator of BIXI:

"In response to numerous requests from Montréal boroughs and residents, Stationnement de Montréal has been authorized by the city’s executive committee to launch phase II of BIXI this summer.

"This second phase will involve adding 2,000 BIXI bikes and 100 new stations in the boroughs of Mercier/Hochelaga‐Maisonneuve, Côte‐des‐Neiges/Notre‐Dame‐de‐Grâce, Villeray/Saint‐Michel Parc‐Extension, and Le Sud‐Ouest. More stations will also be added in Outremont and Rosemont‐ La Petite‐Patrie to complete the deployment in those boroughs. In all, the service will count 5,000 bikes distributed among 400 stations.

"With this second phase, the project budget increases from $15 million to $23 million.

"When the project was launched this spring, Montrealers immediately took ownership of the service. In just seven weeks, they have made more than 220,000 individual trips covering over a million kilometres. “Adding more bikes and stations will allow us to serve a larger percentage of the public and to be present in more high‐traffic areas, such as near educational institutions, public markets, and tourist attractions such as the Biodome,” declared Alain Ayotte, executive vice‐president of Stationnement de Montréal.

“ 'We are extremely pleased by the resounding success of this project, in which we believed from the very start,' declared Jean Simon, president, Primary Metal – North America. “We are delighted to be part of this innovative service, which helps make Montréal an even more enjoyable place to live and work. Our support of BIXI is in line with Rio Tinto Alcan’s commitment to environmental sustainability and fighting climate change.”

Update: Good news: In the almost two months of service, the over 225,000 BIXI trips were taken by almost 47,000 users of which over 6,300 are long term subscribers.
Not so good news: At a recent inspection of 10% of BIXI stations by reporters of La Presse, they found 1 in 5 bikes in disrepair and some docking racks vandalized and unusable. Stationnement de Montréal says that it has technicians out daily.

image credit: The Monitor (ironically from an article titled "The West End to remain Bixi-less until next year")

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