Bixi bikes hit the road, making an early spring return in Montreal

Click to play video: 'Bixi bikes roll into town for an early spring return'
Bixi bikes roll into town for an early spring return
WATCH: Bixi bikes are back on the road, thanks to high demand and unseasonably nice weather. Global's Brayden Jagger Haines has the details – Apr 9, 2021

Montreal bike-sharing service Bixi is back on the road one week ahead of schedule.

The first of the communal bikes got rolling as of Friday morning in the Little Italy neighbourhood.

The early start is due to high demand paired with unseasonably nice weather, Bixi spokesperson Jo Allan said.

“Montrealers are all anxious to get out,” Allan said.

“With the nice weather, it’s been our pleasure to pull out all the stops to get out as soon as possible.”

The pandemic has given the bike-sharing service a boost in business, achieving record profits and usership.

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The Montreal-based company expects to see an increase in ridership of 35 per cent compared to the previous year.

The spike in ridership has led to an expansion of the cycling fleet with the addition of 725 electric bikes.

According to Allan, the motorized two-wheelers are preferred by the public, used 60 per cent more than the regular pedal-powered bikes.

“With the new bike plus 83 new electric stations, that will bring our network to 700 stations across the network,” Allan said.

The network will also see an expansion westward on the island with the addition of six new electric stations added in Pierrefonds-Roxboro and Ile-Bizard.

Velo-Quebec says Bixi’s success is in tandem with the rise in popularity of cycling as a mode of transportation.

“Cycling has been rising in the last few years but the pandemic has really showed the benefits and value of cycling,” Velo-Quebec spokesperson Jean-Francois Rheault said.

Rheault said the service expanding across the island proves more safe cycling infrastructure is needed.

“The expansion of Bixi is positive,” Rheault said.

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“We already see thousands of cyclists on bike paths. So the bikes are moving around in the city so it’s something to be aware.”

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