Montreal Bike Share Program "Bixi" Gets a Name and an Award

Now that Montrealais have gotten a taste of bike sharing, they'll have to wait until next April for the bike share program (formerly Public Bike Sharing System or PBS) to officially roll out.

In the meantime, the program has been re-christened Bixi (bike taxi) after a contest in which 16,000 residents voted for a best name. Bixi also garnered an award from TIME Magazine for one of the year's 50 best innovations. And as the video above shows, setting up the all-aluminum stations is fast and easy.Bikes built for 'savage beatings'
TIME both derided and applauded Bixi's high tech approach. The bikes are designed with lots of sealed components "to resist the savage beatings they will undoubtedly receive" and are assembled locally in Quebec. The bikes also have built-in RFID (radio frequency identification) tags so they can be located or possibly re-located if they are stolen. Some bike advocates don't like RFIDs Big Brother aspect, but Brian Hance of the Stolen Bicycle Registry thinks a nationwide RFID program would greatly reduce the bummer of losing your bike to thieves.

Recyclable bike sharing stations
Stationnement de Montréal is going to run the new system, which differentiates it from the popular Parisian Velib bike sharing program, which is run by JCDecaux, the outdoor advertising company. Montreal's 300 sharing stations will be built all from aluminum, in order to facilitate recycling. They will be solar powered, which helps reduce problems like the Washington DC SmartBike program had getting stations connected to the grid.

Bixi fees to encourage short bike trips
Like Velorbis, Bixi will offer the first half hour of bike travel free to members who have paid a yearly, monthly, or even a daily fee. While the $66 yearly membership is by no means exorbitant, it could limit Bixi's users. Monthly membership is $23, while a 24-hour membership is $4.20. After the first 30 minutes, the next 30 minutes will be about $1, the second 30-minute increment $2.50, and each additional 30 minutes will cost $5. Via: Bixi
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