Bixi – Montreal's innovative approach to bike sharing – just keeps expanding.
The system began in Montreal in 2009. Plans to bring it to Toronto, Ottawa, New York, Chicago, London were reported last Fall.
But it seems that Melbourne and Minneapolis have beaten at least some of them to the punch. Both cities concluded negotiations with the Montreal based non-profit that manages Bixi earlier this month. Bikes are scheduled to be rolling in Melbourne in May and in Minneaplis by June.
There are also plans to allow Bixi users from one city to use bikes in other Bixi cities. What a great idea.
The systems is based on a network of solar powered bike rental nodes that can be easily installed and moved depending on usage. The nodes also update bike availability info in realtime allowing users to check bike availability online from home, iPhones, or other mobile devices. This combination of easy installation and internet integration made Bixi instantly popular. Combined with other forms of public transportation, Bixi can be a useful component in an overal multi-modal transport strategy.
Another contributor to Bixi's hometown success is the fact that since 2000 Montreal has also added 700km of commuter friendly bikepaths.