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Bixi (company)

Type Privately held
Founded 2008
Headquarters Montreal, Canada
Area served Worldwide
Services Bicycle sharing system
Revenue Increase CAD 51 million (FY 2011)[1]
Net income Increase CAD 1.5 million (FY 2011) [1]
Owners Public Bike System Company

Bixi, officially Société de Vélo en Libre-Service, is a not-for-profit and public bicycle sharing system developed in Montreal, Canada.[2][3]

After the 2008 implementation of the system in Montreal, Bixi began expanding around the world. Bixi systems are now found across North America. Bixi equipment in several US cities and Melbourne are operated by Alta Bicycle Share.

On January 20, 2014, Bixi Montreal filed for bankruptcy.

The name Bixi is a portmanteau of bicycle and taxi.


  • History 1
  • System components 2
    • The bike dock and locking system 2.1
    • Pay station 2.2
    • The bike 2.3
    • Rates 2.4
  • Developers 3
  • Around the world 4
    • Current 4.1
  • Difficulties 5
  • Awards 6
  • Effects 7
  • In popular culture 8
  • Mobile applications 9
    • Mobile web 9.1
    • iOS 9.2
    • Multi-platform 9.3
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


In 2007, the city of Montreal published the "Reinvent Montreal" transportation plan, which featured a bike sharing system as a method of reducing automobile dependence. To design and operate the new system, the city created the Public Bike System Company, a private non-profit company overseen by Stationnement de Montréal known as the Public Bike System Company (PBSC), a private enterprise serving as the Montreal Parking authority. [4]

In May 2009, the system began operation in Montreal, with 3000 bicycles and 300 stations.

From June to September 2009, the system was introduced in a pilot study in Ottawa/Gatineau.[5] This was followed by operations in Melbourne, Australia from May 2010,[6] Minneapolis (MN), in June 2010,[7] and London in July 2010.[8] Bixi launched on the Washington State University campus in August 2010, in Washington, D.C. & Arlington under the name "Capital Bikeshare" in September 2010, and in Boston under the name "Hubway" in July 2011.

In January 2014 the company filed for bankruptcy in Montreal citing $46 million in debt. Part of the issue in the bankruptcy was that Chicago and New York were withholding $5 million in payments because of software issues with the docking stations.[9]

System components

A complete station is made up of a pay station, bikes, and bike docks (where the bikes are housed), which are fitted into modular technical platforms that are powered by solar panels. These technical platforms are the base and electronic ports for pay stations and bike docks. Bike stations can be created, expanded, configured and removed in about half an hour, monitored by a real-time management system. Excavation or preparatory work is not required, enabling the installation of a bike station as an adjunct to on-street parking.

The bike dock and locking system

A large Barclays Cycle Hire Station in London

Bike docks serve to house and lock bikes. Made from aluminium, these modular docking stations are formed by a combination of groups of four docks, which are modular themselves. Inspired by ANAT technology, the bike dock's modularity allows a pay station to be deployed in the place of a single dock. Maintenance and repair of the system is simplified thanks to a removable module present in every docking station which contains the locking system and all critical components that allow the system to function. In case of repairs, this module can be replaced with an identical one immediately, reducing the down-time of the system. The locking system is based on an energy efficient actuator used in the medical sector. The principal inventor of these systems is Charles Khairallah,[10] president of Robotics Design,[11][12][13][14] with co-inventor Michel Dallaire, president of Michel Dallaire Industrial Design.[15]

A Bixi pay station.

Pay station

Users can rent a bike using a subscriber key (a "Bixi key") obtained through a long-term online subscription (30 days or annual) or an access code provided by the pay station (24-hour access). Pay stations are touchscreen-operated and only accept credit cards. A button is used to notify Bixi mechanics of defective bicycles.

The bike

The bicycles are utility bicycles with a unisex step-through frame with an upright sitting position and are equipped with 3 speed internal hub gears, drum brakes, fenders, chain guard, lights, and a front rack.

The one-piece aluminum frame and handlebars conceal cables and fasteners in an effort to protect them from vandalism and inclement weather. The heavy-duty tires are designed to be puncture-resistant and are filled with nitrogen to maintain proper inflation pressure longer.[16] Twin LED rear lights are integrated into the robust frame, which weighs approximately 18 kg. The bikes are designed by industrial designer Michel Dallaire and built in the Saguenay, Quebec region by Cycles Devinci, with aluminum provided by Rio Tinto Alcan.[17]


Rates differ by city. In general, users need to take out a subscription, which allows the subscriber an unlimited number of free trips shorter than a given time (generally 30 min). A trip that lasts longer than this incurs additional charges, on an increasing price scale. The increasing price scale is intended to discourage long trips, which helps keep the bikes in circulation.

Montreal Rates (not including the subscription):[18]
time first 45 minutes up to 60 minutes 61 to 90 minutes subsequent 30 minute periods
rate included $1.50 $3.00 $6.00
Toronto Rates (not including the subscription):[19]
time first 30 minutes up to 60 minutes 61 to 90 minutes subsequent 30 minute periods
rate included $1.50 $4.00 $8.00


  • 8D Technologies developed the controls used to run Bixi parking and bike rental and return from the same automated terminal. The system runs on solar energy to reduce environmental impact and maximize the system’s overall energy efficiency. 8D also created a bike-share smartphone app that locates and shows the status of bike stations close to the users.[20]
  • Michel Dallaire created the design of the physical components.[21][22]
  • Robotics Design created the modular bike dock and the intelligent locking system.[23]
  • Cycles Devinci manufactures Bixi bikes in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec.[24]
  • Rio Tinto Alcan is the title sponsor of the BIXI program, as well as providing aluminium for the bikes.[17]
  • Morrow Communications.[25]
  • Michel Gourdeau suggested the name Bixi, a portmanteau of bicycle and taxi, which was selected by a majority of the people who participated in a contest organized by the city of Montreal.

Around the world


City Country Start Date Bicycles Docking Stations Name Website
(Westmount, Longueuil)
Canada May 2009 5120 411 Bixi Montreal
Canada June 2009 250 25 Capital Bixi[5][26]
Melbourne Australia May 2010 610 52 Melbourne Bike Share[27][28]
(campus Waterloo)
Canada May 2010 25 8 Bixi - [29]
(St. Paul)
United States June 2010 1328 146 Nice Ride Minnesota[7][27][30][31][32]
London United Kingdom July 2010 9200 687 Barclays Cycle Hire[33][34][35][36]
Washington State University (campus Pullman) United States Sept 2010 32 9 Green Bikes[37][38]
Washington, D.C.
(Arlington, Alexandria, Montgomery County)
United States Sept 2010 2591 315 Capital Bikeshare[37][39][40]
Toronto Canada May 2011 1000 80 Bike Share Toronto[41][42]
(Brookline, Cambridge, Somerville)
United States July 2011 900 75 Hubway[33][43][44]
Quebec City Canada August 2011 11 1 Bixi - [45][46]
Chattanooga United States July 2012 300 30 Bike Chattanooga [47]
New York City United States May 2013 6000 330 Citi Bike[48][49]
Chicago United States Summer 2013 4000 400 Divvy[50][51]
Aspen United States June 2013 100 13 WE-Cycle [1]
Columbus United States July 2013 300 30 CoGo [2]
San Francisco Bay Area United States Late August 2013 700 70 Bay Area Bike Share
Stony Brook University
(campus Stony Brook)
United States Fall 2013 48 4 Wolf Ride [3]
Madrid Spain June 2014 1560 123 BiciMAD [4]
Guadalajara México November 2014 850 84 BiciPublica [5]


Several cities experienced hurdles in implementing BIXI systems.

A trial implementation in Ottawa and Gatineau took place in the summer of 2009, with 50 bikes and four stations available until September 2009. While the trial was successful, they did not return in 2010 since no company wanted to manage the project as the National Capital Commission wanted the contractor to buy the bicycles and locking stations.[52] The project was revived, however, and 100 bikes and 10 stations were launched in spring 2011.[53]

Bixi's franchise in central Boston includes the right to negotiate to expand the system to neighboring municipalities. Central Boston will be served by a network that includes 2,500 bikes, and 290 stations with 3,750 docking spaces, with the potential to expand to a 5,000-bike system. The system was delayed, partly because of a lack of funding, but launched in Spring 2011 with 610 bikes and 61 stations.[54] It has since grown into the neighboring communities of Brookline, Cambridge and Somerville. They had initially planned to set up a BIXI system directly, but now are using Alta Bicycle Share of Portland, Oregon[55] to set it up.[53] Alta Bicycle Share is a sister company of Alta Planning + Design,[56] undertaking all the services to create and manage bicycle sharing systems. Alta Bicycle Share uses the same system of bicycles and stations that are used in BIXI through the Public Bike System Company.[57]

The BIXI system in Montreal experienced some initial difficulties less than two months after its introduction in 2009, with damage and vandalism to some of the bikes. The newspaper

  • Official website
  • Ottawa-Gatineau site
  • Bixi system
  • bixomo iPhone app

External links

  1. ^ a b "Société de vélo en libre-service: États financiers". PriceWaterhouseCoopers. 2011-03-15. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  2. ^ Austen, Ian (20 January 2014). "Canadian Company Behind Bike-Sharing Programs Seeks Bankruptcy Protection". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 January 2014. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Riga, Andy (May 17, 2010). "City insists taxpayers will still come ahead with Bixi". Montreal Gazette (Canwest). Retrieved 2011-08-22. 
  5. ^ a b "A bicycle built for sharing". Ottawa Citizen. 2009-06-09. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  6. ^ "First international launch: BIXI's rolling in Melbourne". 
  7. ^ a b "BIXI - News". Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  8. ^ "London saddles up for new bike hire scheme". BBC News. 2010-07-30. 
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^ WIPO. "(WO/2009/129623) METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR SECURING A MOVABLE ITEM TO A STRUCTURE". Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  11. ^ Marc Tison. "Le Volksvélo". La Presse. Retrieved 2008-09-28. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Sébastien Lamoureux. "Robotics Design à l’origine d'innovations audacieuses du Bixi". ETS university. Retrieved 2010-10-27. 
  14. ^'oeuil_2009_BIXI.pdf
  15. ^ Lysiane Gagnon (2009-12-07). "Montreal's wheels of fortune". Toronto: The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  16. ^ Ross Lydall (2010-05-21). "Taking a ride on Boris's hot wheels hire bikes". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 2010-06-29. 
  17. ^ a b "Rio Tinto Alcan and BIXI: a partnership on a roll" (Press release).  
  18. ^ "Subscription and Fees". 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-26. 
  19. ^ "Subscription and Fees". 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-26. 
  20. ^ "". Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  21. ^ "". Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  22. ^ a b HALFNIGHT, ANDREW (August 17, 2009). "Picking the brain of Bixi's inventor". Montreal Gazette (Canwest). Retrieved 2009-08-22. 
  23. ^ "roboticsDesign". roboticsDesign. Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  24. ^ "" (in Français). Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  25. ^ "". Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  26. ^ "BIXI - News". Retrieved 2011-04-11. 
  27. ^ a b "BIXI rolls along on three continents". Bixi. 2010-02-02. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  28. ^ "BIXI - News". Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  29. ^
  30. ^ "Nice Ride Minnesota Announces Phase 2 Funding". Nice Ride MN. Retrieved 2011-04-11. 
  31. ^ "Drum roll please...The 2012 Nice Ride season begin NOW!!!". Nice Ride MN. Retrieved 2012-05-15. 
  32. ^ "Nice Ride Minnesota Announces Locations for New Stations". Nice Ride MN. Retrieved 2012-05-15. 
  33. ^ a b "BIXI bikes will soon be wheeling in the streets of London and Boston!". Bixi. 2009-08-11. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  34. ^ "Barclays Cycle Hire | Cycling | Transport for London". Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  35. ^ [6]
  36. ^
  37. ^ a b "BIXI ROULERA DE WASHINGTON À... WASHINGTON!". Bixi. 2010-05-21. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  38. ^ "BIXI - News". 2010-09-01. Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  39. ^ "Capital Bikeshare Expansion Planned in New Year". 2010-12-23. Retrieved 2011-04-11. 
  40. ^ "Alexandria considers bike-sharing". The Washington Post. 
  41. ^ "How the city’s new bike-share program works". National Post. 2010-05-12. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  42. ^ "BIXI - Nouvelles". Retrieved 2011-04-11. 
  43. ^ Moskowitz, Eric (2011-04-21). "Boston set to launch bike share program". The Boston Globe. 
  44. ^ "Brookline eyeing funding sources for bike sharing - Brookline, Massachusetts - Brookline TAB". 2011-02-25. Retrieved 2011-04-11. 
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^
  48. ^
  49. ^
  50. ^
  51. ^ Bellware, Kim (2013-04-26). "Long-Awaited Bike Sharing Program To Hit Streets This Spring". Huffington Post. 
  52. ^ "Public Transit in Ottawa: Bixi bike-rental program in Ottawa hits a snag". 2010-07-16. Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  53. ^ a b "BIXI conquers a third capital: our system in the heart of the capital of Canada in 2011!". 2011-03-01. Retrieved 2011-03-20. 
  54. ^ ["Metro Boston Bike Share Program". Metropolitan Area Planning Council. 2010-12-08. Retrieved 2011-03-20. 
  55. ^ "Home". Alta Bicycle Share. Retrieved 2011-04-11. 
  56. ^ "Alta Planning & Design - Bicycle, Pedestrian, Greenway & Trail Projects". Retrieved 2011-04-11. 
  57. ^ "Home". Retrieved 2011-04-11. 
  58. ^ Cameron, Daphné (2009-07-05). "Robuste, le Bixi?". La Presse (in French). Retrieved 2009-07-12. 
  59. ^ 8d Technologies Sues Bixi Public Bikeshare, 2012 April 30
  60. ^
  61. ^ Could Bixi's Financial Problems Affect Bike-Share in New York, D.C. and Beyond? by SARAH GOODYEAR,, 7 OCT, 2013
  62. ^ "Best Inventions Of 2008". Time. 2008-10-29. Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  63. ^ "Grands Prix Du Design". Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  64. ^ [7]
  65. ^ "Le système BIXI remporte le 2010 GOOD DESIGN Awards - Catégorie Environnement". BIXI. 2011-02-01. Retrieved 2011-02-01. 
  66. ^ Daniel Fuller, Lise Gauvin, Yan Kestens, Mark Daniel, Michel Fournier, Patrick Morency, and Louis Drouin (January 17, 2013). "mpact Evaluation of a Public Bicycle Share Program on Cycling: A Case Example of BIXI in Montreal, Quebec".  
  67. ^ "The Bixi Anthem by Da Gryptions - Download The Bixi Anthem on iTunes". 2010-04-30. Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  68. ^  


See also


  • biximo (FREE): link
  • Bixou



Mobile web

A Bixi user accessing Bixi information using his mobile phone.

Mobile applications

  • The Montreal rap group Da Gryptions had a viral hit song and video in the summer of 2010 titled “The Bixi Anthem”[67] which was a tribute to the bike system.[68]

In popular culture

a greater likelihood of cycling for those exposed to the public bicycle share program after the second season of implementation (odds ratio = 2.86; 95% confidence interval = 1.85, 4.42) after we controlled for weather, built environment, and individual variables.

A study published in the American Journal of Public Health reports observing[66]


  • Bixi was ranked 19th in Time Magazine's 50 Best Inventions of 2008.[62]
  • Bixi won the Eco-Design award from INTÉRIEURS FERDIE.[63]
  • Bixi was awarded the 2009 Gold Edison for Energy and Sustainability.[64]
  • Bixi was awarded Bronze in the transport category for International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) for the Bixi bike, next to the all new BMW Z4 Roadster.
  • Awarded Gold price for Prix de leadership in the Organisme Sans But Lucratif (OSBL) category of the Canadian public sector.
  • Bixi is a finalist for the "Prix Québécois de l’entreprise citoyenne".
  • 2010 Project of the Year award from PMI-Montréal, and a second Project of the year 2010 award in the emerging sector category (won by Public Bike System Company, supported by the City of Montreal for the Bixi project).
  • Bixi was awarded the 2010 GOOD DESIGN Awards.[65]


In January 2014 the company filed for bankruptcy in Montreal citing $46 million in debt. Part of the issue in the bankruptcy was that Chicago and New York were withholding $5 million in payments because of software issues with the docking stations.[9]

In 2013 it was reported that the Toronto Bixi system is facing financial troubles and will be operated by Toronto Parking Authority in Spring 2014 under a different name. The system has only paid back $600,000 of its $4,500,000 start up loan.[60] The unexpectedly rapid expansion of export business created cash flow problems for the parent company, PBSC Urban Solutions, who attempted to sell the international operations in June.[61]

In 2012 a legal dispute over software from 8D Technologies brought implementation delays for Chattanooga, New York and San Francisco.[59]

There have since been no significant damage or vandalism issues reported in any of the installations of BIXI. [22] Designer Michel Dallaire stated it never occurred to him that people would try to break the stations to steal bikes. [58]

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