BIXI Montreal plans to balance its budget this year, despite the impacts of the pandemic on ridership of its self-service bicycle system.
Since 2014, BIXI has experienced constant growth in its traffic, reaching even an increase of 8% last year for a total of more than 5.8 million trips.
The first wave of the coronavirus, last spring, however hit the body hard. Its ridership dropped by 70% during the first weeks after the start of its season on April 15. However, it increased somewhat in the following months, leveling off at an average 40% reduction in service usage compared to last year. Ridership then continued to pick up, rising 11% in November year over year until the end of its season last Sunday.
“BIXI Montreal proved in 2020 that it has all the assets necessary to remain a strong symbol of the metropolis and of its capacity to adapt and innovate, even in times of crisis. As we have just weathered a real storm, we are pleased to announce that BIXI will achieve a balanced budget this year, ”said in a press release, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of BIXI, Alexandre Taillefer, in office since the month of June.
BIXI begins an electric shift
This BIXI season was also marked by the addition, during the summer, of 1000 blue electric bikes to its fleet. Capable of going up to 32 km / h, they were used 60% more than the standard bikes of the organization.
The electric BIXIs also covered an average distance of 4.8 km each time this summer, significantly more than the organization’s other bikes. This situation is consistent with the impacts of the pandemic on changes in the travel habits of BIXI users, who have reduced their trips to the city center in recent months to favor longer trips in outlying districts.
These bikes however come with considerable additional expense. Last April, the City of Montreal awarded a contract worth more than $ 17 million to the firm PBSC Solutions Urbaines for the acquisition of 2,150 electric bicycles intended for BIXI by 2022, including the 1,000 that the organization added to its fleet this summer.
In addition, due to the higher management costs of these electric bikes, BIXI recently obtained an additional financial contribution of more than $ 400,000 from the City of Montreal for the year 2020.
Last year, BIXI Montreal signed a 10-year agreement with the City which provides, in particular, for an expansion of the organization’s presence in the outskirts of the city. This is accompanied by a financial contribution of $ 46 million to the organization.