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bike sharing

Is Montreal-Based BIXI Going Bust?

Photo by tcp909

By Carissa Bluestone

Popular bike-sharing network BIXI is experiencing more shakeups in its home city only several months after Montreal’s government approved a $108 million bailout to cover the company’s deficits. On Friday, CEO Roger Plamondon resigned amid controversy over the deal with the city.

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Montreal Heeds Doctor’s Orders that Cities Need More Cycling

Photo by Joel Mann

By Waheeda Harris

A recent survey by scientists at the University of Wisconsin looked at the economic benefits of urban dwellers switching from a car to a bike for trips of less than five miles in 11 metropolitan areas of the northern Midwest US.

The societal health benefits were gauged in terms of medical costs, mortality rates, car accidents, physical fitness and air pollution. Scientists found that if inhabitants in a sample region were to switch from driving to biking only for errands requiring less than 25 minutes of cycling, the result would be an annual $3.8 billion saved in health care costs and 1,100 fewer deaths from road accidents.

The study conservatively assumed Midwesterners would only cycle in good weather—approximately four months of days per year. Yet, according to Bicycling Magazine, in 2010 Minneapolis, Minnesota, was named the top city for cycling in the United States, a city that certainly has four seasons.

In Canada, Montreal gets the nod as the only Canadian city—out of 80 cities worldwide—on the 2011 Bicycle-Friendly Cities index, compiled by Danish consulting firm Copenhagenize. Montreal, which came in at number eight, was chosen for its $100-million-plus investment in revamping bike trails, its long-standing cycling infrastructure and being the first North American city to launch urban bike-sharing program Bixi.

Getting to the Sweet Spot in BIXI Bike Pricing

Photo by Ian Muttoo

By Amanda Yiu

Montreal-based bike-sharing company BIXI, which launched in Toronto, Ottawa, and Boston in the past few months, may be expanding to Vancouver in the near future, and plans for a 10,000-fleet New York City launch are set for next summer.

BIXI has grown rapidly since first launching in Montreal in 2009, beginning operations in Toronto, Ottawa and Boston in the past four months and rolling out overseas in 2010, in London, Melbourne and DC. The bike-sharing program is undeniably popular, with more than 3 million BIXI trips taken since the beginning of 2010.

For visitors, borrowing a bike at a pay-as-you-go rate can be a fabulous way to explore the city. But be sure to keep your ride short. A friend visiting from Australia last month made the mistake of taking out a BIXI bike in Toronto for the full day and ended up paying over $100 in usage fees. As the breakdown of non-subscriber fees (below) shows, long trips can add up quickly. (Subscribers can pay $95 for a one-year membership, waiving the $5 daily flat fee, but the same time-of-use rates still apply.)

BIXI fees for 8 hours of continuous usage:

$5 flat 24-hour access fee (includes first 30 minutes)

+ $1.50 for 31–60 min

+ $4 for 61–90 min

+ $104 for additional 6.5 hours ($8 x 13 half-hour increments)

= $113.50 before tax

Additionally, a $250 security deposit is charged to your credit card and refunded after 10 days.

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