PBSC Urban Solutions

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PBSC Urban Solutions Inc.
  • Public Bike System Company
  • (Société de Vélo en Libre-Service)
IndustryBicycle-sharing systems
Founded2008; 12 years ago (2008)[a] in Montreal, Quebec, Canada
FounderSociété en commandite Stationnement de Montréal (SCSM)
Area served
Key people
Luc Sabbatini (CEO)
BrandsIconic, Boost, Fit, E-Fit
Footnotes / references
  1. ^ as Public Bike System Company

PBSC Urban Solutions, formerly the Public Bike System Company, is a bicycle-sharing system equipment vendor based in Longueuil, Quebec. The company develops bicycle-sharing systems, equipment, parts, and software, and sells its products to cities in Australia, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and seven other countries.[1][2][3] The company has sold about 90,000 bikes and 7,000 stations to 32 cities.[4][5][6]

Public Bike System Company (PBSC) was initially created by the City of Montreal[7][8] to supply and operate its public bike share system under the brand Bixi (later becoming Bixi Montréal), which was introduced in 2009.[9] The name 'Bixi' is a portmanteau of 'bicycle' and 'taxi'. Starting in 2010, PBSC began to export the Bixi brand of bike-share systems to various other cities.

In 2013, PBSC began having financial problems; the company filed for bankruptcy in early 2014.[10][11] Bruno Rodi purchased the international division in April 2014 and renamed the company to PBSC Urban Solutions.[12][13] (Montreal's on-the-ground Bixi bike-share operations were not included in the sale, and were reorganized under the Bixi Montréal name.) In 2015, he sold the majority share to Luc Sabbatini, who became CEO.[12] Since then, PBSC Urban Solutions has extended its activity into additional cities.


In 2007, the city of Montreal published the "Reinvent Montreal" transportation plan, which featured a bike sharing system as a method of reducing automobile dependence. To design and operate the new system, the city created the Public Bike System Company (PBSC). This was a private non-profit company overseen by Stationnement de Montréal (the Montreal parking authority).[14]

After the 2008 implementation of the system in Montreal, Bixi began expanding around the world. Bixi systems are now found across North America. Bixi equipment is used in several bike-sharing systems in North America, most of which are operated by Motivate.

In May 2009, the system began operation in Montreal, with 3000 bicycles and 300 stations.[citation needed]

From June to September 2009, the system was introduced in a pilot study in Ottawa/Gatineau.[15] This was followed by operations in Melbourne, Australia from May 2010,[16] Minneapolis (MN), in June 2010,[17] and London in July 2010.[18] Bixi launched on the Washington State University campus in August 2010, in Washington, D.C. & Arlington under the name "Capital Bikeshare" in September 2010, and in Boston under the name "Hubway" in July 2011.

On January 20, 2014, the company filed for bankruptcy in Montreal, citing $46 million in debt. Part of the issue in the bankruptcy was that Chicago and New York were withholding $5 million in payments because of software issues with the docking stations.[19][20] Over the course of 2014, Bruno Rodi purchased the international division of Bixi and renamed it to PBSC Urban Solutions. Luc Sabbatini became CEO of the company in January 2015.[21]

Original developers[edit]

  • 8D Technologies developed the technological platform behind the Bixi system, including the wireless bike station terminals, the RFID bike dock technology and the software systems. The system runs on a combination of solar energy and grid charged batteries. 8D also created the Spotcycle bike-share smartphone app that locates and shows the status of bike stations close to the users.[22][23][24][25]
  • Michel Dallaire designed the physical components.[26][27][28]
  • Robotics Design designed the bike docks and the locking system.[29]
  • Cycles Devinci manufactures Bixi bikes in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec.[30]
  • 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.[31][32]

Current systems[edit]

The cities that currently use PBSC bike-share systems are listed below: [33]

City Country Launch date System name Stations Bikes
Aruba  Aruba 2017 Green Bike Aruba 8 100
Aspen/Basalt, Colorado  United States 2013 WE-cycle 25 220
Barcelona  Spain 2019 Bicing 519 7100
Boston, Massachusetts  United States 2011 Bluebikes 158 1461
Buenos Aires  Argentina 2019 Ecobici 400 4400
Chattanooga, Tennessee  United States 2012 Bike Chattanooga 39 408
Chicago, Illinois  United States 2013 Divvy 619 6387
Columbus, Ohio  United States 2013 CoGo 70 614
Detroit, Michigan  United States 2017 MoGo 75 621
Dubai  United Arab Emirates 2020 Careem Bike 80 800
Guadalajara  Mexico 2014 MiBici 280 2446
Honolulu, Hawaii[34]  United States 2017 Biki 136 1288
Kona, Hawaii  United States 2016 Hawaii Island Bikeshare 11 104
London  United Kingdom 2010 Santander Cycles 839 13850
Louisville, Kentucky  United States 2017 LouVelo 39 322
Minneapolis, Minnesota  United States 2010 Nice Ride Minnesota 171 1833
Monaco  Monaco 2019 MonaBike 35 300
Montreal, Quebec  Canada 2009 Bixi Montréal 597 7340
New York, New York  United States 2013 Citi Bike 458 7000
Nicosia  Northern Cyprus 2018 Velespeed 43 410
Porto Alegre  Brazil 2018 Bike Itaú 41 410
Recife  Brazil 2017 Bike Itaú 80 800
Rio de Janeiro  Brazil 2018 Bike Itaú 260 2600
Salvador  Brazil 2018 Bike Itaú 40 500
Santiago  Chile 2019 Bike Santiago 350 3901
São Paulo  Brazil 2018 Bike Itaú 260 2600
Toluca  Mexico 2015 Huizi Toluca 27 350
Toronto, Ontario  Canada 2011 Bike Share Toronto 466 5006
Tucson, Arizona  United States 2017 Tugo 36 330
Valence  France 2018 Libélo 45 306
Vila Velha  Brazil 2018 Bike VV 20 200
Washington, D.C.  United States 2010 Capital BikeShare 395 5932
Stony Brook University, New York  United States 2013 Wolf Ride 8 63


A Bixi payment kiosk in Montreal.

A complete station is made up of a payment kiosk, bikes, and bike docks (where the bikes are locked). A station can be installed and configured in about half an hour; no excavation is required beforehand. Ordinary stations use solar power during the day and a rechargeable battery at night. Stations which can charge e-bikes, however, must be connected to an electrical power source.

Bike docks[edit]

Bike docks hold and lock the bikes when they are not in use. Each dock includes a button which can be used to notify staff if a bicycle is defective.

Payment kiosks[edit]

PBSC's payment kiosks are touchscreen-operated; most of them accept credit cards for short-term rentals. Users can unlock bikes using a numeric one-time PIN number generated by the payment kiosk or an app. Long-term subscribers also have the option to unlock a bike using a subscriber key, which works using contactless RFID ("tap") technology.


The bicycles are utility bicycles; they have a unisex step-through frame with an upright seating position. They are equipped with grip-shifter-operated internally-geared hubs, drum brakes, mudguards/fenders, chain guard, generator lights, and a front rack. PBSC sells both 3-speed and 7-speed hub gears.

The one-piece aluminum frame and handlebars conceal cables and fasteners, in an effort to protect them from vandalism and inclement weather. The tires are designed to be puncture-resistant and are filled with nitrogen to maintain proper inflation pressure longer.[35] Twin LED rear lights are integrated into the robust frame, which weighs approximately 18 kg. The bikes were designed by Michel Dallaire; they are built in the Saguenay, Quebec region by Cycles Devinci.

Four bike models are available. These include:[36]

  • The "Iconic". This is PBSC's original bike model. It has 26" wheels, and is heavy but sturdy.
  • The "Fit". This is a newer model. It is lighter-weight and has 24" wheels.
  • The "Boost". This is PBSC's original e-bike. The battery lasts for up to 60 km between charges.
  • The "E-Fit". This is a newer e-bike. The battery lasts for up to 70 km between charges.

The "Boost" and the "E-Fit" each include a 250 watt motor.

Mobile apps[edit]

PBSC mobile app[edit]

The official PBSC bicycle-rental app is now called "PBSC"; it was formerly called "CycleFinder".[37][38] It can be used to unlock bikes, find nearby stations, find available bikes or empty docks, find a route to a destination, and more.[39]

Transit App[edit]

PBSC Urban Solutions also has a partnership with "Transit App";[40] this app can also be used to find stations and unlock bikes.[41]

2014 bankruptcy[edit]

In January 2014, Bixi filed for bankruptcy in Montreal, citing $46 million in debt. Part of the issue in the bankruptcy was that Chicago and New York were withholding $5 million in payments because of software issues with the docking stations.[19] In February 2014, the city of Montreal bought all Bixi assets, with the intention of selling the international division of the bankrupt company.[42] On April 9, 2014, Bruno Rodi, a Quebec businessman, bought Bixi's international division for $4 million[43] and renamed it PBSC Urban Solutions.[44][45]

Operational difficulties[edit]

Several cities experienced hurdles in implementing Bixi systems.

A trial implementation in Ottawa and Gatineau took place in the summer of 2009, with 50 bikes and four stations available until September 2009. While the trial was successful, they did not return in 2010 since no company wanted to manage the project as the National Capital Commission wanted the contractor to buy the bicycles and locking stations.[46] The project was revived, however, and 100 bikes and 10 stations were launched in spring 2011.[47]

Bixi's franchise in central Boston includes the right to negotiate to expand the system to neighboring municipalities. Central Boston will be served by a network that includes 2,500 bikes, and 290 stations with 3,750 docking spaces, with the potential to expand to a 5,000-bike system. The system was delayed, partly because of a lack of funding, but launched in Spring 2011 with 610 bikes and 61 stations.[48] It has since grown into the neighboring communities of Brookline, Cambridge and Somerville. They had initially planned to set up a Bixi system directly, but now are using Alta Bicycle Share, of Portland, Oregon, to set it up.[47] Alta Bicycle Share uses the same bicycles and stations that are used in Bixi through the Public Bike System Company.[49]

The Bixi system in Montreal experienced some initial difficulties less than two months after its introduction in 2009, with damage and vandalism to some of the bikes. The newspaper La Presse 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.[50] Designer Michel Dallaire stated it never occurred to him that people would try to break the stations to steal bikes. [27] There have since been no significant damage or vandalism issues reported in any of the installations of Bixi.

In 2012 a legal dispute over software from 8D Technologies led to implementation delays for Chattanooga, New York and San Francisco.[51]

In 2013 it was reported that the Toronto Bixi system was facing financial troubles and would be operated by Toronto Parking Authority in 2014 under a different name. The system had only paid back $600,000 of its $4,500,000 start up loan.[52] The unexpectedly rapid expansion of export business created cash flow problems for the parent company, PBSC Urban Solutions, which attempted to sell its international operations in June.[53]


A study published in the American Journal of Public Health reports observing:[54]

a greater likelihood of cycling for those exposed to the public bicycle-share program after the second season of implementation (odds ratio = 2.86; 95% confidence interval = 1.85, 4.42) after we controlled for weather, built environment, and individual variables.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "PBSC Urban solutions".
  2. ^ "Cities love to use our bike-sharing solutions".
  3. ^ "El sistema publico de bicicletas no llegar a Devoto en 2019".
  4. ^ "Comment j'ai implanté un système de vélopartage". 2018-03-05.
  5. ^ "The worldwide bike-sharing system provider".
  6. ^ "Homepage". PBSC Urban Solutions.
  7. ^ Austen, Ian (20 January 2014). "Canadian Company Behind Bike-Sharing Programs Seeks Bankruptcy Protection". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  8. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20110826132941/http://www.bixisystem.com/who-we-are/about-us/. Archived from the original on August 26, 2011. Retrieved August 23, 2011. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ "Bikeshare: Bixi Montreal | Greater Places". greaterplaces.com. Archived from the original on 2016-08-05. Retrieved 2016-06-11.
  10. ^ "Big Bike-Sharing Supplier's Bankruptcy Doesn't Doom U.S. Programs". NPR.org. Retrieved 2015-08-02.
  11. ^ "Once bankrupt, Montreal's Bixi can't keep up with global demand". www.cbc.ca. Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  12. ^ a b "Bixi: PBSC Urban Solutions brings bike-sharing to the world (Part 3)". Montreal Gazette. 2015-10-23. Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  13. ^ "Bruno Rodi, PDG de Global B. Rodi inc. - La Presse+". La Presse+ (in French). 2015-08-27. Archived from the original on 2016-10-11. Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  14. ^ Riga, Andy (May 17, 2010). "City insists taxpayers will still come ahead with Bixi". Montreal Gazette. Canwest. Retrieved 2011-08-22.
  15. ^ "A bicycle built for sharing". Ottawa Citizen. 2009-06-09. Archived from the original on 2009-06-13. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  16. ^ "First international launch: BIXI's rolling in Melbourne". Montreal.bixi.com. Archived from the original on 2010-06-05. Retrieved 2017-02-17.
  17. ^ "BIXI - News". Montreal.bixi.com. Archived from the original on 2010-09-06. Retrieved 2011-02-23.
  18. ^ "London saddles up for new bike hire scheme". BBC News. 2010-07-30.
  19. ^ a b "Citi Bike supplier rides into bankruptcy". Crain's New York Business. Bloomberg News. Retrieved 2016-06-17.
  20. ^ "Bixi goes bust in Montreal, files for bankruptcy protection". www.cbc.ca. Retrieved 2016-06-17.
  21. ^ "Bixi: PBSC Urban Solutions brings bike-sharing to the world (Part 3)". Montreal Gazette. 2015-10-23. Retrieved 2016-06-17.
  22. ^ Mc Kenna, Alain (21 November 2008). "La technologie québécoise intéresse les étrangers". La Presse. Retrieved 30 August 2016.
  23. ^ Swedberg, Claire (17 July 2008). "Montreal RFID-enabled Bike Project Picks Up Speed". RFID Journal. Retrieved 30 August 2016.
  24. ^ Lau, Kathleen (10 November 2008). "Wireless, solar power drives Montreal bike rentals". IT World Canada. ITWC. Retrieved 30 August 2016.
  25. ^ Beaulieu, Alain (22 October 2008). "8D: la nouvelle dimension du vélo urbain". Direction informatique. Retrieved 30 August 2016.
  26. ^ "Michel Dallaire, pionnier du design industriel d'ici - L'Express". l-express.ca.
  27. ^ a b Halfnight, Andrew (August 17, 2009). "Picking the brain of Bixi's inventor". Montreal Gazette. Canwest. Archived from the original on 2009-08-28. Retrieved 2009-08-22.
  28. ^ "Montreal's wheels of fortune" – via The Globe and Mail.
  29. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-10-03. Retrieved 2018-05-31.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  30. ^ ICI.Radio-Canada.ca, Zone Économie -. "Cycles Devinci fait une percée au Brésil". Radio-Canada.ca.
  31. ^ "Dix choses que vous ne saviez (probablement) toujours pas sur BIXI".
  32. ^ "BIXI entame sa dixième saison". Le Devoir.
  33. ^ "Cities love to use our bike-sharing solutions". PBSC Urban Solutions. Retrieved 2020-02-18.
  34. ^ Maduli, McKenna; Staff, Web (2017-03-15). "New bikeshare program to be featured at city's Complete Streets Expo". KHON2. Retrieved 2017-03-16.
  35. ^ Ross Lydall (2010-05-21). "Taking a ride on Boris's hot wheels hire bikes". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 2010-06-29.
  36. ^ "Bikes + Smart Stations". PBSC Urban Solutions.
  37. ^ Lamontagne, Kathryne. "Chicago à petit prix". Le Journal de Québec. Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  38. ^ Sky, Blue. "Main Divvy app gets big makeover". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  39. ^ "CycleFinder - PBSC Urban Solutions - Discover New Apps". discovernewapps.net. Archived from the original on 2016-08-08. Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  40. ^ james.gooch. "Masabi and Transit App Partner to Create Integrated Urban Mobility Experience for Transit and Payments". blog.masabi.com. Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  41. ^ "Chattanooga eyeing new bicycle models for bike-share program". timesfreepress.com. Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  42. ^ "Montréal acquiert BIXI". Le Devoir. 20 February 2014. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  43. ^ Vailles, Francis (10 April 2014). "Bruno Rodi met la main sur Bixi international". La Presse. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  44. ^ "Bixi: PBSC Urban Solutions brings bike-sharing to the world (Part 3)". Montreal Gazette. 2015-10-23. Retrieved 2016-06-16.
  45. ^ Austen, Ian (Jan 9, 2015). "Uphill Push to Save a Bike-Share Pioneer". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  46. ^ "Public Transit in Ottawa: Bixi bike-rental program in Ottawa hits a snag". Transitottawa.ca. 2010-07-16. Retrieved 2011-02-23.
  47. ^ a b "BIXI conquers a third capital: our system in the heart of the capital of Canada in 2011!". bixi.ca. 2011-03-01. Archived from the original on 2011-04-09. Retrieved 2011-03-20.
  48. ^ "Metro Boston Bike Share Program". Metropolitan Area Planning Council. 2010-12-08. Retrieved 2011-03-20.
  49. ^ "Home". Bixisystem.com. Archived from the original on 2011-09-04. Retrieved 2011-04-11.
  50. ^ Cameron, Daphné (2009-07-05). "Robuste, le Bixi?". La Presse (in French). Retrieved 2009-07-12.
  51. ^ 8d Technologies Sues Bixi Public Bikeshare, 2012 April 30
  52. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-05-11. Retrieved 2013-04-21.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  53. ^ Could Bixi's Financial Problems Affect Bike-Share in New York, D.C. and Beyond? by Sarah Goodyear, theatlanticcities.com, 7 Oct. 2013
  54. ^ Daniel Fuller; Lise Gauvin; Yan Kestens; Mark Daniel; Michel Fournier; Patrick Morency & Louis Drouin (January 17, 2013). "Impact Evaluation of a Public Bicycle Share Program on Cycling: A Case Example of BIXI in Montreal, Quebec". American Journal of Public Health. 103 (3): e85–e92. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2012.300917. PMC 3673500. PMID 23327280.

External links[edit]