BIXI expands to the Windy City
A curbside bicycle service being offered in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa this summer will provide a breath of fresh air for tourists.The BIXI bicycle sharing program will allow visitors to take in the sights, get some exercise and save money by leaving their gas-guzzlers in the hotel parking lot. (Public Bike System Company / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Wednesday, March 14, 2012 10:26PM EDT
MONTREAL - BIXI's international expansion will continue this summer as the bicycle share system announced on Wednesday that it will send 3,000 of the Quebec-made bicycles to Chicago.
"This is a central piece of our goal to make Chicago a world-leader in cycling," said Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel.
At a total cost of $21 million, Chicago could add up to 2,000 more bicycles over the next two years to its network. The majority of the funding came from federal subsidies. The system's operational costs will be covered by memberships and advertising.
The Windy City will be the seventh American municipality to adopt BIXI. After New York City and London it will operate one of the world's largest fleets of the distinctive bicycles.
"I'm proud that the BIXI family is growing," said Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay. "Once again, BIXI is advertising our metropolis around the world and is shedding light on the ingenuity and talent of our creators."
The Chicago network will be operated by Alta Bicycle Share, which already operates BIXI networks in Washington DC and Boston.
With a balanced budget, Tremblay also announced on Wednesday that BIXI's mother company was paying back a loan of $37 million from the City of Montreal.
BIXI provides nearly 450 jobs in Quebec.