BIXI is Montreal’s public bicycle sharing system. Launched in 2009, this city-wide bike-sharing system has gradually expanded to include over 400 stations and 5,000 bicycles. Unlike traditional bike rentals, BIXI bikes are meant to be used for short-term commutes. Take a BIXI when you need one, and leave it at any station when you arrive at your destination. BIXI is accessible to everyone, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, three seasons of the year, from April to November. Rides are typically 30-minutes at a time with longer rides incurring additional charges.
There are over 5,000 BIXI bikes available to Montreal locals and tourists alike. The BIXI bicycles are stationed on over 400 BIXI stations in many of Montreal’s most popular streets and neighborhoods. This includes the Old Port, downtown and the Quartier des Spectacles. The BIXI system was created for short trips: usage fees encourage frequent uses for short periods of time. To use the service, you have to either subscribe or purchase a 24-hour access pass. Then you can travel and bike between stations as many times as you want for 30 minutes or less at no additional charges. Usage fees apply for longer trips.
To ride a BIXI, all you need to do is swipe your credit card to borrow one of the more than 5,000 bikes at the 400 self-serve stations around the city center. An interactive map on the BIXI website indicates the current number of bikes and empty docks at each station. You can also download the BIXI app to get realtime information. Four subscription periods are available: 24 hours for C$5, 30 days for C$30, half-season for C$55 or one year for C$87 (2016), including taxes. If you return the bike to a station within 30 minutes (45 minutes for monthly and annual subscriptions), there is no charge. Each bike has a front carrier along with front and back lights. The seats are also unisex and suitable for most riders.
Users can rent a bike using a subscriber key (a “BIXI key“) obtained through a long-term online subscription (30 days, half-season or annual) or for a shorter term through an access code provided by the pay station (24-hour access or 3-day access). Pay stations are touchscreen-operated and only accept credit cards. If you are a visitor wishing to rent a BIKI bike, here are the steps that you must take to get a bicycle:
- Go to the pay station, choose the bike icon, buy your 1-day access, 3-day access or one-way trip, then read and accept the user contract.
- Pay by inserting your credit card (Visa, MasterCard or AMEX). A $100 deposit is placed on your credit card for maximum of 10 days. Your credit card is used to identify you as a user; a maximum of four (4) 1- or 3-day accesses per credit card is permitted at one time.
- Print or view your unlocking code on the screen. It is valid for 5 minutes.
- Enter your unlocking code on the keypad of the bike dock of your choice. If you are a BIXI member, insert your key in the bike dock of your choice.
- When you see the green light turn on, pull the handlebars firmly toward you to release the bike.
- Adjust the seat height, put your bag in the basket and ride!
Once you are done with the bicycle, you can return the bike to any of the 400+ BIXI stations. Here are the steps to returning a BIXI bicycle:
- Push the front wheel firmly into an empty bike dock. IMPORTANT: Make sure the green light comes on after docking the bike. You have to wait 2 minutes before taking out another bike.
- To get a new unlocking code during your 1- or 3- day access period, insert your credit card again: the system will recognize it and no additional fees will be charged to your card if you make trips under 30 minutes.
Totally designed and manufactured in Quebec, the BIXI system has been adopted by various cities across the globe. Toronto, Melbourne and New York City are a few of the cities that have their own variation of the BIXI system.