Bixi Montreal

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Bixi logo.svg
Owner Public Bike System Company
Locale Montreal, Quebec
Transit type Bicycle sharing system
Number of stations 460 (2014)
Annual ridership 3,214,867 (2014)
Began operation 2009
Number of vehicles 5,200 (2014)

Bixi (styled as BIXI in some marketing pieces) is a public bicycle sharing system serving montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Launched in May 2009, it is the original Bixi system.

System components[edit]

A complete station is made up of a pay station, bikes, and bike docks (where the bikes are kept), which are fitted into modular platforms that are powered by solar panels. These platforms are the base and electronic ports for pay stations and bike docks. Bike stations can be created, expanded, configured and removed in about half an hour, monitored by a real-time management system. Excavation or preparatory work is not required, allowing the installation of a bike station as an addition to on-street parking.

Bike dock and locking system[edit]

Station at Boulevard René-Lévesque

Bike docks are used to store and lock bikes. These modular docking stations are formed by a combination of groups of four docks. The bike dock's modularity allows a pay station to be used in the place of a single dock. Maintenance and repair of the system is simple because of a removable module present in every docking station which contains the locking system and all necessary parts that allow the system to function. In case of repairs, this module can be replaced with an identical one immediately, reducing the down-time of the system. The locking system is based on an energy efficient motor used in the medical sector. The principal inventor of these systems is Charles Khairallah,[1] president of Robotics Design,[2][3][4][5] with co-inventor Michel Dallaire, president of Michel Dallaire Industrial Design.[6]

A Bixi pay station.

Pay station[edit]

Users can rent a bike using a subscriber key (a "Bixi key") obtained through a long-term online subscription (30 days or annual) or an access code provided by the pay station (24-hour access). Pay stations are touchscreen-operated and only accept credit cards. A button is used to notify Bixi mechanics of broken bicycles.

The bike[edit]

The bicycles are utility bicycles with a unisex step-through frame.

The one-piece aluminum frame and handlebars hide cables in an effort to protect them from mischief and bad weather. The heavy-duty tires are designed to be puncture-resistant and are filled with nitrogen gas to maintain proper pressure for longer.[7] Twin LED rear lights are found inside the frame, and the sturdy frame weighs approximately 18 kg (40 lb). The bikes are designed by industrial designer Michel Dallaire and built in the Saguenay, Quebec region by Cycles Devinci, with aluminum provided by Rio Tinto Alcan.[8]


In order to use the system, users need to take out a subscription, which allows the subscriber an unlimited number of rentals under 30 minutes for 1 day and 3 days subscriptions, and 45 minutes for 1 month and 1 year subscriptions. A trip that lasts longer than this no-charge time period gets additional charges, on an increasing price scale. The increasing price scale is meant to keep the bikes in circulation. Subscriptions can be purchased at $7 per day, $15 for 3 days (at a pay station only), $30,25 per month or $80,50 per year.

Montreal Rates (not including the subscription):[9]

time first 30 or 45 minutes up to 60 minutes 61 to 90 minutes subsequent 30 minute periods
rate included $1.75 $3.50 $7.00


Stationnement de Montréal[edit]

The project was included in the transportation plan for the City of Montreal, which aimed at encouraging active means of transportation, like bikes. The program is run by the city's parking authority, Stationnement de Montréal.[10]

Other developers[edit]

  • 8D Technologies developed the controls used to run Bixi parking and bike rental and return from the same automated terminal. The system runs on solar energy to reduce environmental impact and maximize the system’s overall energy efficiency. 8D also created a bike-share smartphone app that locates and shows the status of bike stations close to the users.[11]
  • Michel Dallaire created the design of the physical components.[12][13]
  • Robotics Design created the modular bike dock and the intelligent locking system.[14]
  • Cycles Devinci manufactures Bixi bikes in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec.[15]
  • Rio Tinto Alcan is the title sponsor of the BIXI program, as well as providing aluminium for the bikes.[8]
  • Morrow Communications.[16]
  • Michel Gourdeau: suggested the name Bixi, a portmanteau of bicycle and taxi, which was selected by a majority of the people who participated in a contest organized by the city of Montreal.

Station network[edit]

The location of a Bixi bike station is determined by several parameters, including population density, points of interest and activities (universities, bike paths, other transportation networks, and data on travel patterns of the general public. In 2009, 5,000 bikes were deployed in Montreal through a network of pay stations located mainly in the boroughs of Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie, the Plateau-Mont-Royal and Ville-Marie, spilling over into parts of Outremont and the South West. As of 2011, the system has spread to Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension, Ahuntsic, Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Westmount and Verdun.


Montreal's BIXI system experienced some initial difficulties less than two months after its introduction in 2009, with damage and vandalism to some of the bikes. The La Presse newspaper reported on July 5, 2009 that one in five bikes had been damaged and 15% of bike racks are defective. Stationnement de Montréal communications director Michel Philibert stated the organization plans to reinforce racks and is testing prototype designs.[17] Designer Michel Dallaire stated it never occurred to him that people would try to break the stations to steal bikes.[13] There have since been no significant damage or vandalism issues reported in any of the installations of BIXI.

The program experienced many serious financial problems over its lifetime. Most notably, when the city of Montreal was forced to sell off the profit-making international division, since the city by law cannot operate such a business.[18]

In popular culture[edit]

  • The Montreal rap group Da Gryptions had a viral hit song and video in the summer of 2010 titled "The Bixi Anthem"[19] which was a tribute to the bike system.

See also[edit]


  2. ^ Marc Tison. "Le Volksvélo" (PDF). La Presse. Retrieved 2008-09-28. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Sébastien Lamoureux. "Robotics Design à l’origine d'innovations audacieuses du Bixi". ETS university. Retrieved 2010-10-27. 
  5. ^'oeuil_2009_BIXI.pdf
  6. ^ Lysiane Gagnon. "Montreal's wheels of fortune". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  7. ^ Ross Lydall (2010-05-21). "Taking a ride on Boris's hot wheels hire bikes". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 2010-06-29. 
  8. ^ a b "Rio Tinto Alcan and BIXI: a partnership on a roll" (Press release). Rio Tinto Alcan. 2008-10-28. Retrieved 2009-09-14. 
  9. ^ "Subscription and Fees". 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  10. ^ Hamilton, Graeme (2009-10-26). "Part bicycle, part taxi:". CBC News. 
  11. ^ "". Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  12. ^ "". Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  13. ^ a b HALFNIGHT, ANDREW (August 17, 2009). "Picking the brain of Bixi's inventor". Montreal Gazette (Canwest). Retrieved 2009-08-22. 
  14. ^ "roboticsDesign". roboticsDesign. Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  15. ^ "" (in French). Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  16. ^ "". Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  17. ^ Cameron, Daphné (2009-07-05). "Robuste, le Bixi?". La Presse (in French). Retrieved 2009-07-12. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ "The Bixi Anthem by Da Gryptions - Download The Bixi Anthem on iTunes". 2010-04-30. Retrieved 2011-02-23. 

External links[edit]