Bixi Montreal eyes balanced budget despite coronavirus crisis

A man rides by an STM bus in downtown Montreal. The Canadian Press Images/Francis Vachon

Bixi Montreal plans to balance its budget this year, despite the exceptional context caused by COVID-19.

The self-service bicycle organization attributes its success to the popularity of outdoor exercise as a stress reliever.

At the beginning of the pandemic, ridership dropped by more than 70 per cent in April compared to the same period last year.

However, the organization estimates that it has gradually regained clients’ confidence, with an average monthly drop of around 40 per cent in the following months.

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READ MORE: Bixi encourages limited travel, offers free rides to health-care workers

The season ended with an 11 per cent increase in ridership in November.

“The season which has just ended was (…) marked by the addition of 1,000 new electric BIXIs to the fleet, which are very popular with our customers and used 60 per cent more often than standard bikes,” said Alexandre Taillefer, chair of the board of directors for BIXI Montreal.

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Between its creation in 2014 and 2019, Bixi Montreal recorded a 307 per cent increase in sales, a 146 percent increase in unique users and an 81 per cent increase in ridership.

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Despite the pandemic getting underway in March, which pushed BIXI Montreal to quickly review its service and deploy a health measures plan, the season was able to start on the scheduled date of April 15.

In order to support healthcare workers and offer them an additional option for their trips to their workplace, BIXI has also offered a free 30-day subscription to all employees of public healthcare establishments in Greater Montreal.

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