Saturday, April 12, 2008

Montreal to rent bicycles for short trips

Montreal is planning to rent bicycles for short urban trips this year.

The price will be inexpensive for 30 minutes or less, and quickly get more expensive for longer trips... Does it come as any surprise that this pricing model is designed by Stationnement de Montreal, the parking meter rip-off agency?

You can read more here.

City plans bike-rental network

René Bruemmer
The Gazette

Friday, April 11, 2008

Montreal wants to become the first city in North America to introduce a widespread public bicycle rental system.

Based on similar, popular projects in European cities like Paris and Berlin, the system would see hundreds of stations holding several bicycles each that users could pick up for jaunts through the city. The bikes would be dropped off at another station, for a modest fee.

The emphasis would be on short trips of about 30 minutes, to ensure a rapid turnover of bicycles so that some will always be accessible, said Roger Plamondon, chairman of the board of Stationnement de Montréal, the company overseeing the project.

After 30 minutes, "prices would rise exponentially," Plamondon said. The company is conducting focus groups to determine what fees it should charge for usage.

Engineers are working on a bicycle design suitable for Montreal's harsh winters and hilly terrain, courtesy of Mount Royal. The bikes will also have to have unique components that aren't compatible with conventional bicycles, to deter theft.

The company is planning to introduce 40 bikes in September at three or four stations that will travel around the city "so people can try them out, as a sort of laboratory," Plamondon said.

By summer 2009, the goal is to have 2,500 bicycles at 300 stations in the Ville Marie, Plateau Mont Royal and Rosemont/Petite Patrie boroughs.

"That will be Stage 1, and we'll adjust according to demand," Plamondon said. "It will, I think, answer a need that's out there for short-term commuting without using a car."

In Paris, the system has grown to 16,000 bicycles and is extremely popular, Plamondon said.


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