Despite COVID-19, Bixi Montreal plans to balance its budget this year

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Despite the exceptional circumstances surrounding COVID-19, Bixi Montreal plans to balance its budget this year. 

The ride-share bicycle organization attributes its success to the popularity of outdoor exercise as a stress-reliever amid the pandemic. 

The service first experienced a drop in ridership reaching more than 70 per cent in April compared to last year -- however, Bixi estimates that it has gradually regained user confidence, with an average monthly drop of around 40 per cent in the following months, to end the season with an 11 per cent increase in ridership in November.

"The season that just ended was (...) marked by the addition of 1,000 new electric BIXIs to the fleet, very popular with our customers and used 60 per cent more often than standard bikes," said Alexandre Taillefer, chairman of the board of directors of Bixi Montreal.

Between its creation in 2014 and 2019, Bixi Montreal recorded a 307 per cent increase in sales, a 146 per cent increase in unique users and an 81 per cent increase in ridership.

Despite the arrival of the pandemic in March, which prompted Bixi to quickly review its service and deploy a health measures plan, the season was able to start on the scheduled date of April 15.

In order to support health-care workers and offer them an additional option for their trips to their workplace during the pandemic, Bixi offered a free 30-day subscription to all employees of public health-care establishments in Greater Montreal.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Nov. 17, 2020. 

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