entries filed under 'biking' tag:
posted by Odin on Apr 30, 2009
'bixi' by ApollineR, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License
Just when I thought the city of Montreal couldn't make any more mistakes, I am proven wrong! Just when our public transit options couldn't get any worse, they actually do!
The Bixi public bicycle rental system is due for launch next month. The idea is simple; you pay an annual fee in order to access a network of public bicycles, parked at given stations. Various European cities, such as Paris, Munich and Barcelona, have had similar systems for a few years now.
The concept is great. Lord knows that during the year I've spent in Paris, I have used the Vélib system quite often and am now a devoted fan. What's not to like? Lots of bikes, lots of stations, incredible city coverage, cheap membership (30€ for the year)…
The Montreal system, on the other hand, seems riddled with problems from the onset. To start off, the annual membership fee goes for $78. This is no astronomical amount, but to keep things in perspective, you can buy a used bike for around $100. Also, how can the system cost way less in Paris, a much more expensive city?
Second, the distribution of the Bixi stations leaves much to be desired. A quick look at the map on the official website shows a massive network of stations scattered around downtown and the Plateau area. This raises two issues. First, do you really need THIS many stations next to each other? Seriously, some stations are actually only one block apart! Second, what about the rest of the city? I would have decreased the density a bit to provide some stations in surrounding areas such as Westmount, CDN, NDG, which seem to have been completely neglected.
Finally, we live in a cold city, where you can really only bike for a few months a year. I'm just not too sure it's wise to invest time, effort and money for an activity that will only benefit certain people during a short time window. There are supposedly 300 Bixi stations to start off. What exactly did we lose to provide for all of this space? Is it parking spaces? I sure hope not!
I am not a fan of cars, and would love to see fewer cars on our island. But, unfortunately, cars are everywhere and are here to stay for now. With all of the parking lots transformed into condo projects and the hike in parking meter rates, it has become very hard to find parking anywhere in our busy districts. Does it really make sense to take up even more spaces for Bixi stations? It just seems like we're benefiting the minority bikers at the expense of the majority car drivers, which by the way, need those parking spots ALL year long!
Once again, it seems our officials want to do well and head in the right direction. It just seems they fall short on almost every occasion.
about the blog
MTLRants© is Seek Odin's brand new blog, bringing you entries from our staff and other contributors. The blog will cover topics and issues related to SeekOdin's central themes. Mostly, it will deal with the difficulties and frustrations of dealing with service-related businesses in Montreal.
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