What happens when you chop the words “bike” and “taxi” in half and then combine the two? You get Bixi, of course! And what is that exactly? Well, it is a new bike rental service based on the European tradition of bicycle sharing that has recently come to Montreal. The service is part of the city’s plan to provide alternatives to car use for short trips around town.
Bixi bike stations have recently been set up around the city. Users pay a fee to use one of the bikes, but can return it to any station. The bikes, kept in solar-powered stations, have three speeds and a large, solid body. However, users should keep in mind that Bixi is set up for short bike trips; otherwise, the fees start to add up quickly.
Before being able to rent a bike, everyone must take out a subscription either for a year ($78), 30 days ($28) or 24 hours ($5). Once that fee is paid, people are charged an additional “usage fee,” which is free for the first 30 minutes, $1.50 for the next 30 minutes, $3 for the third 30-minute segment and $6 for any subsequent 30-minute period.
For example, if you take out a 24-hour subscription and you ride a bike for less than 30 minutes, your total cost is $5. Ride for an hour and your cost is $6.50. If you peddle for an hour and half, the cost rises to $9.50 and it will be $15.50 when you hit the two hour mark. In other words, unless you want to spend a hefty amount during the day, Bixi is best used for short trips.
When bikes are taken out, a time clock calculates the minutes and charges you accordingly. Stations operate around the clock and maps of stations are available on the Bixi website. As an incentive, there is an introductory offer giving you a two-month subscription for the price of one month or a two-year subscription for the price of one year.
The Bixi website also features safety tips and reminds cyclists to wear a helmet. Still have questions? Call (514) 789-BIXI (2494) or check out the website at www.bixi.com.