In a race to become the first major North American city to roll out a "self-serve" bike-sharing program, Montreal might have the upper hand. The city is planning a bike-sharing project that could make stations available by fall of 2008, and could cover the city in 300 stations by fall of 2009. While San Francisco is also considering such a proposal, details have not been finalized. Both Montreal and San Francisco are looking to mimic European systems that have proven very popular in cities such as Paris.
The idea is to encourage Montrealers and tourists to use the public bicycles instead of cars for short, inner-city trips. Users will be able to pick up a bike at one station, use it, then drop it off at any station of their choice.
Montreal's plan calls for 2400 bikes in all. While it may not be the 20,000+ bikes expected in Paris' program by the end of this year, it's certainly a start.