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March 05, 2011



Hard to know unless one worked for RIM to know how much their bike-share program is marketed within the firm.

If there are incentives built into the program for employees to encourage use ie. if they log in use of Bixi and xxx kms. every quarter, they get points for a discount towards ie. fitness membership or whatever.

In fact, it would be useful just to understand big employers in Europe how often their workplace fleet of bikes are used.

By the way, I noticed your late 2010 articles on Velo-city Global.

There will be a major announcement on blog within the next few weeks when Vancouver organizing team will be in Seville.


Hi Bill,
re: "...quite a success story for a Canadian company. And, as sometimes is the case, the firm became a success outside of Canada first."

I'm not sure you've got your history correct on this one! There were other bike-share schemes using different technology prior to Montreal's BIXI, the most notable being Velo-Libre in Paris.

However, BIXI was an entirely Canadian development -- a partnership among Cycles DeVinci, Rio Tinto Alcan, City of Montreal (through a transportation master plan update, delegated to the parking authority Stationnement de Montréal) and several others.

The Montreal system was launched in May of 2009, the same summer Ottawa/Gatineau did a pilot run. In 2010, BIXI programs were launched in Melbourne, Minneapolis, London UK, and Washington DC. Boston's program was deferred to 2011.

For more, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bixi

As bike share programs take root, there are other systems now competing with BIXI, yet none of them has the track record and experience of the BIXI consortium.


Hi Alan,
Thanks for the Bixi history. I guess I was unclear in that it may sound like I thought Bixi came to Canada from elsewhere. I realize it is homegrown, but like some homegrown ventures, it was given a somewhat ho-hum response in its own country, while successfully marketing its concept abroad. I am thrilled to see Ottawa and Toronto looking to Bixi . . . just wish Canadian businesspeople didn't have to prove themselves in Australia or the U.S. before they are embraced in their own country.


What's also really cool about BIXI is that the bike design and manufacturing, as well as the station design, technology and manufacturing, all remain Canadian and on-shore.

The bikes are made by DeVinci at their factory in Saguenay, QC, even while most of the DeVinci stock bikes are now made in Asia. The bikes are made using aluminum stock from Rio Tinto Alcan's smelters in Quebec, powered by Hydro Quebec.

The success of the BIXI program has created many, many jobs in Canada.


I would use Bixi all the time if it were available here. I work uphill on the Iron Horse trail from my home, so I don't want to bike into work, but I would love to be able to grab a bike, head down the trail, and leave it at a station near my home.

Last summer my wife and I went up to the Waterloo campus on a Sunday - I thought I could swipe my credit card on one of RIM's Bixi racks, grab a couple of bikes, and tool around the UW Campus and trails by R&T Park. After all, none of the publicity around RIM's Bixi project indicated that it wasn't open to the public.

But when we got there midday, none of the racks were turned on. So on two days when they could attract leisure riders without impacting their workers, the racks are evidently unavailable.

I suspect RIM's bike racks are more for show than practical use. Most of the buildings on the main campus are too close to justify checking out a bike vs walking, and the offices further up Phillip are not easily accessible from the Iron Horse trail.


When I talked to them, RIM seemed keen on expanding the program in 2011 to include Hagey Blvd building.


The said that they were just off their first year target for ridership.

We should find out any day now if the Bixi racks will come back to Phillip.

I think they have a real issue with promotion within because there's some barriers to entry. Helmets, training etc.

Steven Petric

I suggest that the Region (Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge as well as Guelph) partner together to get the BIXI system put into place here.

Prasad S.

Hi Bill, I just happen to see this blog. Just so you all know, Grand River Public Bike Share (GRP) continuing University of Waterloo Sustainable Project'S Initiative and hoping to launch a pilot in City of Waterloo in spring of 2013. For more detail you can visit our facebook,twitter and website. Keep up with the good work. Spreading this word

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Bill Bean

  • North America is eventually going to figure out that, for all the right reasons, we need more bicycles on our roads. Dust off your bicycle and go cycling. And if the gas-burning dinosaurs start to crowd you, it's your road and you paid for it. Take the lane for yourself.

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