Time Mag Digs Montreal Bike-Share

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Bixi, Montreal's new public bicycle-sharing program, has been listed among Time Magazine's 50 Best Inventions of 2008. While a pilot version of the system debuted this fall, the real action begins next spring, when 2,400 bicycles will appear on city streets along with 300 solar-powered stations.

The bikes are designed to withstand the abuses of careless users or vandals, but they won't have to endure the harsh Montreal winters. The program runs only from mid-April through mid-November.

The pricing structure encourages short, frequent trips. After paying a flat membership fee ($78 full season, $28 monthly, or $5 daily), any trip of less than 30 minutes is free. Each 30-minute period beyond that costs from $1.50 to $6. Montreal invested $15 million in Bixi, and expects to recoup costs.

What could New York learn from Bixi? In addition to the general bike-sharing concept, this city could benefit from modular bike racks that are rapidly installed and expanded to meet growing rider demand, as shown here.

Photo: Stationnement de Montreal via The Bike-sharing Blog