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Bixi puts forth five-year-plan, but what will city hall say?

Watch above: The not-for-profit board that runs Bixi Montreal has unveiled a 5-year plan that it the hopes will revive the struggling bike-sharing program. Billy Shields has the full story.

MONTREAL – The non-profit board running the city’s troubled bike-sharing service released a proposal Sunday of how it would operate over the next five years — and it outlined three potential customers to target.

The first group is students. “There hasn’t been a systematic approach to get students to use the system,” said board member Sylvia Morin.

“The second is tourists, tourists are a big component of Montreal in the summer,” she added.

The third target group Morin mentioned were corporate clients who would use the service for employees.

The non-profit was extremely upbeat on its numbers for 2014, pointing out that declines of the previous years had stabilized slightly. But some of the projections Bixi is making seem optimistic.

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It hopes to raise annual ridership of the service to 4.4 million rides by 2019.  It currently stands at around 3.2 million for 2014.

READ MORE: This year could be make-or-break for Bixi bike-share service

Perhaps most controversially, its current proposal calls for about $3 million a year in city funds to stay afloat.

Bixi’s contract with the city lasts until the end of the year. Yet whether Mayor Denis Coderre is willing to open up the purse strings is another matter.

“The mayor has not been clear about his intentions so far,” said Craig Sauve, a city councillor for Projet Montreal. “We’ve been very clear that we want to see it go forward, and we need a result before Dec. 31.”

Through a spokesperson, the mayor indicated he would not comment on the matter until he’s deliberated on it during upcoming meetings at city hall this week.

Cycling advocates like Daniel Lambert are planning a “love-in” Monday evening at city hall to demonstrate in favour of keeping the service.

“We think it’s a very good deal,” he said. “What’s important, though, is that support for Bixi can’t be half-hearted.”

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