Free Bixi Sunday a thank you to riders for helping reach record usage

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BIXI holds free bike Sunday
WATCH: BIXI made it a bit easier for anyone looking to get around the city on Sunday. The company had its monthly last-Sunday-of-the-month event where all bikes are available free of charge. As Global's Phil Carpenter reports, it's BIXI's way of thanking the public for record ridership – Aug 25, 2019

Scores of Montrealers took advantage of Free Bixi Sundays as part of the company’s monthly programme.

It was partly a way to thank the public for record usage in July.

“July we went over a million trips during the month,” the company’s marketing manager Pierre Parent told Global News.  “It’s the biggest month ever for Bixi.”

Every last Sunday since May users have been able to use the bikes free of charge, for half an hour each time, all day until midnight. The offer ends in October.

“The idea behind the Free Bixi Sundays is first to have people try Bixi,” explained Parent.

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They started doing it four years ago to get people to use the service, and Parent said the programme is yielding good results.

On the first free Sunday in May this year, they clocked 44,000 trips, the most yet for any free Sunday, Parent said.

Plus daily usage is also up fifteen percent.

That doesn’t surprise some regular users like Robert Apolito, a yearly subscriber. He credits the city.

“Living in Montreal for the last two years I’ve seen that the bike lanes have improved a ton!” he said.

Others, while they do like the service, say it would be even more successful if they offered more.

“Electric bicycles,” Nicolas Delval said. “It would be great if there was this kind of bikes.”

That’s partly because there is competition from other services like the Uber-owned Jump bikes which were launched in the city this year.

Delval’s friend Makheau Desert, also a Bixi subscriber, agreed.

“I use (the electric bike) too,” he laughed. “Going uphill, it’s just easier.”

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Bixi added electric-assist bikes to its fleet last year as a pilot project, which it didn’t continue this season, but with the company’s success so far this year, Parent said Bixi isn’t bothered by the competition.

“I think there’s space for new services,” he explained.

He added that as long as more people stop using cars, it doesn’t matter who provides the bikes.

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