WATCH: Bixi not just a matter of money, it's a social and sustainable investment: Coderre
Bixi is a worthwhile investment and it's not just about making a profit, said Montreal mayor Denis Coderre as he kicked off the bike-sharing service season in the wake of a report suggesting it's not worth the $60-million over ten years it's costing taxpayers.
Taxpayers contribute nearly $3 million a year for the bike-sharing service. The city also plans on spending $9 million over the next three years on equipment and new stations.
A study by the Montreal Economic Institute says only public funds have allowed BIXI to generate surpluses. It suggests that instead of supporting a service that runs at a deficit, Montreal might be better off developing the city’s bike network. The study also suggests the service has a minimal impact on the environment and the use of other modes of public transport.
Coderre said he has faith in the service and believes many Montrealers are on board.
"We're talking about a social investment, we're talking about a sustainable investment, and we're talking about public service," said Coderre at a news conference at city hall.
"It's not just a matter of money - it's a matter of investment, the quality of life, enhancing our own environment and to be serious about when we're talking about to reduce the (greenhouse gas emissions effect)."
Bixi reported 4.1 million trips last year, up 16% from 2015.
Bixi is rolling out a thousand more bikes plus 80 more stations with over 2200 more spaces to park the bikes. They are also installing 540 smart stations where you can use your Opus card to rent a Bixi. New packages include special rates for ten one-way rides.
The Bixi season starts Saturday at midnight.
(With files from The Canadian Press)