Nothing says spring in Montreal like the return of BIXI bikes to the city’s streets.
While the bike-sharing service is officially launching the 2019 season on April 15, free rides will be available all day Sunday from 8 a.m. until midnight.
The non-profit said the initiative was BIXI’s way to express its gratitude for 11 years of support.
“In our most recent survey, customer satisfaction was at 95 per cent,” BIXI Montréal CEO Christian Vermette said in a written statement.
“This is our way of thanking them for their loyalty to us and their commitment to sustainable transport.”
BIXI will be expanding its service to five additional boroughs, bringing the total to 16. The new boroughs include Lachine, Saint-Laurent, Montréal-Nord, Anjou and Saint-Léonard.
As part of the expansion and to consolidate its network, BIXI will be adding 60 stations, 2,625 bike docks and 1,000 bikes.
It will also continue offering Free BIXI Sundays, where users can ride for free every last Sunday of the month, from May to October.
WATCH: Electric Bixis hit Montreal streets (August 2018)
The program, offered in partnership with Manulife, will be entering its fourth year.
Manulife Québec president and CEO, richard Payette said the company was excited about promoting active transport in the city and that it was “planning a few surprises for the 2019 season.”
While there is no word on what those surprises may be, BIXI will be introducing a new points and rewards system called AMIS BIXI.
Points will be awarded to riders who rent bikes from crowded stations and bring them back to stations where bikes are needed.
In 2018, riders logged over 5.3 million trips — a record-breaking number, according to BIXI.
While it’s too soon to know if 2019 will be a record-breaking year, BIXI said preseason sales for one-year memberships were up five percent over last year, despite poor weather.
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