NEWS

Bixi bike-share launches another season

04/15/2013 09:49 EDT | Updated 06/15/2013 05:12 EDT
Another sign of spring started rolling out on Montreal streets this morning.

The Bixi bike-sharing service launched its 2013 season this morning, flipping the switch to activate the network just before 7 a.m.

While it's on schedule with Bixi's target launch date, it's two weeks behind when the bikes hit the road the previous two years.

"We started the operation one week late compared to last year," Bixi's interim CEO Michel Philibert told CBC's Daybreak.

" I think it’s a good work on our part because we had snowstorms on Friday. We were supposed in fact to open the switch on Friday, but, because of the snowstorm, we weren't able to do it."

Expanding network

This year, Bixi is expanding its network to include 50 more docking stations for the shared bicycles. Those will roll out later in the season.

What users will see immediately is the improvement of already existing stations with the addition of more spaces.

"It will improve the quality of service of Bixi members because it will be easier to find a free bike dock to get back the bike," Philibert said.

The popular bike-sharing program has struggled financially for the past few years.

The city-controlled company that runs Bixi said last fall it was counting on international sales to recover the sums it invested in the Montreal network.

Last year, Montreal's mayor said some of Bixi's troubles stem from the former Liberal provincial government's opposition to having the city underwrite the company's international expansion to cities like London, New York, Melbourne and Boston.

In a report released last August, Bixi said it had 49,227 members in Montreal.

The company has often said it needed 50,000 members in order to remain financially afloat. However, that number declined in the fall.

Philibert said the company will release more on its financial picture in the coming weeks once the reports have been approved by the executive committee and the company's board of directors.

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