Cycling – Montreal launches European-style self-service bicycle system

Finally – a Canadian city is “getting it”. I knew this was on the way as I had seen the adverts whilst in Montreal recently. BIXI…… not sure about the name.

Nor am I too hot on the design of the bike. But that is really secondary as this move is a great step forward for Canadian cycling. Here’s the website.

From the Montreal Gazette – September 22, 2008:

They’ve now got an official name – BIXI, combining bike and taxi – and, just in time for Car-Free Day today, a public profile.

The 40 first prototypes of Montreal’s new self-serve, quick-trip rental bicycles will be wheeled around the city for demonstration purposes starting today, Mayor Gérald Tremblay told reporters yesterday.

Over the next four weeks, Montrealers will be encouraged to take demo spins on this urban innovation, billed as a North American first.

By next spring, Tremblay said, the city expects to make 2,400 of these custom-built BIXIs available from a total of 300 solar-powered, easy-locking docking stations. Most will be in the Plateau Mont Royal, Rosemont-Petite Patrie and downtown Ville Marie boroughs, with some in Outremont, Villeray-St. Michel and Southwest.

The aluminum-frame BIXI weighs 20 kilograms and has three gears. Designer Michel Dallaire opted for an enclosed chain, as well as hidden cabling to reduce the prospects of oil stains and vandalism.

The BIXI has always-on, dynamo-powered front and rear lights, along with a rack and bungee cord for storing a handbag or briefcase. Seat height is the sole possible adjustment by any user.

A seasonal pass allowing BIXI users to cycle free for as long as half an hour between any docking stations – anytime between mid-April and mid-November, assuming a bike is available – will cost $78. A one-month pass will cost $28, and a 24-hour pass $5. To discourage lengthy excursions, the second half-hour of each trip will cost $1.50, the third $3 and the fourth $6.


  1. Indeed good news, I think the program’s pricing will have a positive effect: people opting for buying ‘normal’ bikes.

    Trying to blog off that jet-lag, Les? :-p

  2. @Amsterdamize – Yes …and YES!

  3. Excellent news. Hopefully it will have thesame success as the ones in Germany- they can’t get enough bikes out on the streets at the moment.

  4. @ A Evans: I hope it works. With 5-6 months of snow in Montreal, there will be challenges as the city will not clear the bike paths in the Winter. Only the most committed cyclists can be seen in January!

  5. “…the city will not clear the bike paths in the Winter…”

    Thus sending out the important message that bikes are not as important as road vehicles. Perhaps with all this money invested in BIXI they will see the need to change this.

  6. @ Henry: Easier said then done. The amount of snow that falls in this part of the world makes clearing and maintaining roadways very difficult. It would be very dangerous to cycle. Remember, we are not looking at dedicated bike paths, but shared use (roads).

  7. We have that sort of services in quebec city too 😉

    If you live near Université Laval you can get a bike from the université for the day 🙂

  8. @ Philippe: Really? What is it called? Tell us more……


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