Time Mag Digs Montreal Bike-Share

08_11_Bixi_MontrealParking.jpg

Bixi, Montreal’s new public bicycle-sharing program, has been listed among Time Magazine’s 50 Best Inventions of 2008.
While a pilot version of the system debuted this fall, the real action
begins next spring, when 2,400 bicycles will appear on city streets
along with 300 solar-powered stations.

The
bikes are designed to withstand the abuses of careless users or
vandals, but they won’t have to endure the harsh Montreal winters. The
program runs only from mid-April through mid-November.

The
pricing structure encourages short, frequent trips. After paying a flat
membership fee ($78 full season, $28 monthly, or $5 daily), any trip of
less than 30 minutes is free. Each 30-minute period beyond that costs
from $1.50 to $6. Montreal invested $15 million in Bixi, and expects to
recoup costs.

What
could New York learn from Bixi? In addition to the general bike-sharing
concept, this city could benefit from modular bike racks that are
rapidly installed and expanded to meet growing rider demand, as shown here.

Photo: Stationnement de Montreal via The Bike-sharing Blog

  • Kind of expensive in comparison to European leaders…

  • Looks good, but Time is a bit fuzzy on what the word “invention” means apparently.

  • gecko

    Can’t help but wonder about major government investment in folding bikes and trikes that save lots of space and provides lots of flexibility, options in ways to travel. As low-cost materials get lighter and stronger, serious folding transport will be increasingly ubiquitous. Razor scooters were just the start.

    Would much rather have a bike folded next to me in a cubicle, or in the rack above me on Amtrak or the subway than parked somewhere; even in a car.

  • bikefriday

    The hoop rack wins contest. Now can we get them everywhere, please?
    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/11/14/hoop-wins-bike-rack-design-contest/

  • neb

    I just read also that Minneapolis is going to start a larger bike sharing system of 1000 bikes – planned for launch (hopefully) next May. Interestingly, I read that they are going to use the Montreal bike model and are purchasing them from Montreal. The mpls bike share looks to be centered around downtown, uptown, dinkytown and in between, which is very exciting since there will probably be very good coverage with 1000 bikes in that area. These bikes apparently have lights powered by the bike. Very cool.

  • Adriana

    The Bixi (Montreal) bikes are great. Very sturdy, comfortable and widely adaptable to riders who are different heights. My party ranged in height from 4’10 to 6’0 tall and we all found them very comfortable. Having the racks so close together is what makes it work (they are within 1-2 blocks of one another). The bicycles themselves are unique too – thieves cannot take them apart to use for parts on other bicycles. They are a bit heavy, but it doesn’t matter since you rarely have to lift the bike.

    What makes Bixi work so well is that in addition to a central city culture that has grudgingly accepted bicycles on the roads that do not have lanes, is the exceptional quality of Montreal’s downtown bike lanes.

    The bidirectional lanes in Downtown Montreal are not merely separated by space and paint, nor by removable planters, but by *permanent* 1 and half foot curbs, requiring major investment. They are built to stay.

    Elsewhere in the central city, bi-directional lanes are created by using car-parking to separate the cyclists from the cars. Instead of putting parking next to the sidewalk, there is space for both directions of bicycles (with a yellow line), and then the parked cars, and then the roadway traffic.

    Montreal has quietly forging ahead without much self-promotion, and is now finally starting to reap the benefits as the rest of the continent discovers what has been going on for years.

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