MONTREAL -- With the improving weather comes the promise of the return of Bixis to Montreal roads, but some people aren't happy that renting one of the bikes will come with an increase in price this year.

While the electric variety of the bike used to cost $1 per ride, users will now be charged $0.25 per minute.

Bixi e-bikes were used 60 per cent more than regular bikes in 2020.

Julian Couasnon lives near the St-Denis bike path and is a regular e-bike user. He's started a petition against the new pricing scheme.

“This price system is a discriminatory practice, it's something that is really unjust and they should reverse this decision,” he said.

He argued that users who live further from their destinations will end up paying more with the new system.

“They don't have a choice but to stay longer on the e-bikes. For commuting, for doing their chores, they will suffer from this. Bixi should consider something universal, just like the STM does it.”

Velo-Quebec spokesperson Jean-Francois Rheault argued the old pricing system wasn't viable and that charging the bikes adds to the cost.

“We think the operating cost should reflect the cost of an e-bike for the sustainability of the system,” he said. “Of course equity is very important, it's very important to make sure everyone has access to the program.”

Bixi officials declined to comment and the City of Montreal did not respond to an interview request. Couasnon said he believes the city could push back “because they have great leverage. They have $4 million they give, representing 30 per cent of the revenue in 2019, so they should have big leveral and should say 'Sorry, but this is not fair for all Montrealers.'”