Starting this summer, BIXI will no longer be the only bike-sharing service in Montreal. A whole new fleet of shared electric bikes and scooters is on the way.
JUMP, owned by Uber, will be the first new service to enter the Montreal market. A similar service called Lime is hoping to establish itself, too.
The bikes will come first. Users will be able to book one in an app, pay by the minute to rent it, and then leave it at a city-installed bike rack. Unlike Bixi, these bikes don’t need to be parked exclusively at designated docking stations.
“We don’t want those vehicles to be left around, to be dumped on our sidewalks,” said Caldwell. “We want our sidewalks to be clear and free. We’re open to that new mobility, but we want to have a clear control for the way they are deployed.”
The Quebec Transport Ministry is changing regulations to allow the services to come to Montreal, and on Wednesday the city announced new regulations for JUMP and Lime. The providers are paying steep fees for the right to operate in Montreal. They must open an operational centre in the city, and inform their clients of rules and regulations of the road.
Fines will be levied if the bikes are parked anywhere except a city-installed bike rack.
“Quebec will be allowing on our streets dock-less bikes and scooters. We decided in Montreal to pass a bylaw so we can control that phenomenon,” said Eric Alan Caldwell, member of the Montreal Executive Committee responsible for transport.
The city reserves the right to revoke the companies’ access to Montreal.
The new bikes are expected to be deployed in May, with electric scooters arriving in June or July. Scooters will be allowed on streets and bike paths, and parked in designated spots near intersections.
“We have to be vigilant. We have to see how it works, and police can enforce those rules,” said Caldwell.
WATCH: Electric Bixis hit Montreal streets (August 2018)
He said safety will be the main focus this summer, as the city monitors the rollout.
“One factor is speed — we need to control the speed,” Caldwell said. “Those bikes and scooters have equipment that can limit the speed. Quebec has set the speed limit at 34 kilometers per hour, and we want to take that down.”
For now, the service is only expected to be offered in the downtown core, but that could expand to other boroughs before launch day.
Meanwhile, the city says the new offer will not threaten Bixi.
“In other cities where there’s that strong public offer of bike sharing, we are able to see that it stays stable and strong. Bixi will not be altered by the new offer’s services,” Caldwell said. “They are complementary.”
“We commend Mayor Plante and her administration on their action to increase access to shared and electric mobility alternatives that will improve the way Montrealers get around town,” said Uber spokesman Jean-Christophe de le Rue. Bike sharing, he noted, can help reduce traffic.
JUMP operates in a number of cities in Europe and North America, including New York City, San Francisco and Berlin. Montreal will be the first city in Canada to have the service.
Lime also operates in dozens of cities around the world, including Calgary.