This week, Montreal launched there BIXI bike sharing program. For $78 dollars, you can get a yearly pass that will eventually give you access to a few thousand bikes all over the island. With the pass, you can pick up any bike, ride it anywhere for 30 minutes free of charge, after that, there is a dollar or so fee for each additional hour.
The whole project is quite green, with the rental stations being solar powered (this is nothing new to Montreal, as all parking meters around the city are solar powered and have been for years).
I am curious to see how the system succeeds. Cities such as Amsterdam have free bicycle rental programs that are widely utilized. However, I wonder if it wouldn’t be cheaper for these individuals seen as potential customers to simply spend that 78 dollars on a bike of their own. Used bikes are fairly easy to come by. One may argue that if you are stuck somewhere without a bike, having access to a BIXI could be beneficial.
I guess we’ll see.
Montreal had been seeing an strong increase in car traffic as people slowly moved toward the suburbs. In the past year or so, this trend has reversed as gas prices have risen (gas up here is traditionally much more expensive than in the States).
As for Jen and I…well, we haven’t been as vigilant as we had hoped in riding our bikes. I’m sure our time will come but at this point, lugging them down the stairs is the barrier (we think) And leaving them on the street is not wise. But we hope to become weathered and tough urban cyclists some day.