After a record-breaking season, BIXI is looking at the possibility of making its rental service a year-round affair, so Montrealers can take out a bike in winter and summer.
BIXI’s 2017 season saw more riders than ever before. Over 258,000 people in Montreal took out a BIXI bike this past season, a 10% jump from last year. More rides were also documented, with a total of 4.8 million compared to the 4.1 million recorded in 2016.
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2017 was a year of expansion for BIXI, with the bike-rental service adding 80 more docking stations and one thousand new bikes. Obviously the additions were needed, because BIXI, as the numbers show, has become more popular.
The increase in popularity and ridership now has BIXI wondering: should we extend service into the winter?
A spokesperson for BIXI Montreal did say that the company has considered the possibility of year-round service, reports La Presse.
Right now, BIXI Montreal is assessing the viability of renting out bikes to Montrealers in the colder months of the year, but that isn’t exactly a guarantee.
Cities like Toronto and Boston actually offer year-round service for their BIXI equivalents. Montreal, however, is a very different city when it comes to winter.
The amount of snow and precipitation Montreal receives throughout the winter is a cause for concern for BIXI. Not only are roads dangerous for cyclists in the winter (especially casual cyclists who aren’t used to Montreal streets when its snowy/icy) but the cold and precipitation may damage BIXI’s docking stations.
All the electronics in a BIXI docking station (which certainly don’t come cheap) may be damaged by the intensely cold temperatures, icy winds, and massive snowfalls that are signatures of a Montreal winter.
Funding would be another issue for BIXI, since the City of Montreal hasn’t committed to helping the bike-rental service extend service into the winter months.
But, even though there seems to be a lot against year-round BIXI, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. The company is looking into the possibility of winter bike rentals, which means, at the least, that year-round service is a possibility.
Plus, we have a new mayor in City Hall who is a champion of public transit and alternative modes of travel. If BIXI is worried about funding, Valerie Plants may have taken office at just the right time.
A mayor committed to moving Montrealers more efficiently (as Plante has said numerous times) would probably be on-board with offering citizens a new way to get around in the winter.