Montreal bike-sharing service Bixi today began a six-month promotion that will offer free one-way trips of up to 30 minutes each on the last Sunday of every month.
The company says it is looking to expand its already impressive reach in the city.
“We’re hoping the special one day offer will really encourage those who haven’t had a chance to try the service to do so,” said spokesperson Bérengère Thériault, who detailed Bixi’s bold ambitions. “The beginning of the season was great. We had an increase of memberships purchased in April when we started the season. We already have 2200 new members and our goal is to have a thousand per year.”
BIXI-Montréal, a non-profit organization that was created in 2014 by the city of Montreal, has a network has 5,200 bikes and 460 stations throughout the city and neighbouring Longueuil and Westmount. Bixi, a portmanteau of the words bike and taxi, was originally launched in Montreal in May 2009 but had to be bailed out by the city with a $37-million loan after its international ambitions and technology snags wheeled it into bankruptcy.
Bixi’s story is one side of the mixed results that similar services are reporting worldwide. While some bike sharers, like Paris’s Vélib’, have been unqualified successes, many others, like Toronto’s have been on a rocky road since their inception.
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But there may be more to bike-sharing than meets the eye. A study from McGill University found that property values near bike stations saw a discernible increase in the five years after they were installed.
And another study found the services offered a surprisingly safe way to get around.
“The growth of bikesharing in the United States has had a transformative impact on urban transportation,” wrote the authors of a recent study from Mineta Transportation Institute. “Major cities have established large bikesharing systems, including Boston, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, New York City, Salt Lake City, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Washington DC, and others. These systems began operating as early as 2010, and no fatalities have occurred within the US as of this writing.”
If you’re interested in taking Bixi up on their free ride offer, here’s how you do it:
1 – Go to the pay station at any of the 460 BIXI stations between 12:01am and 11:59pm. Download the BIXI app or visit the station map to find a station near you.
2 – Insert your credit card, select “$0 One-way” and follow the instructions on the screen. *A $20 deposit per bike and trip will be held for up to 10 days.
3 – After completing the transaction, type in the code you received into the keypad on the left side of the docking point of the BIXI bike of your choice.
4 – Go out and explore Montreal for up to a maximum of 30 minutes. *Fees will apply if you go over your allotted 30 minutes.
5 – Return your BIXI bike at any station and take out another as many times as you would like!
Below: Bixi is Back (Montreal Gazette)