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Ride: a sustainable transport love story

by William Fox October 13, 2015
Ride: a sustainable transport love story

Taking Bixi for granted is not what Thanksgiving is all about

As a newcomer to Montreal and a new graduate student at Concordia, I needed to look at all transport means available to get me to and from Loyola campus.

Graphic by Charlotte Bracho.

Graphic by Charlotte Bracho.

I began by researching the traditional ways of getting around the city: the metro, buses, cars, bicycles, and walking. When I saw the great bicycles paths that Montreal had, I thought that getting around on a bike would be a fantastic option.

So, I was tempted to buy a bicycle. At first, a friend suggested that I buy a used one, so that I could save some money. Another friend recommended I try Bixi. I’m from Bogotá, Colombia so I had never heard of it before. I went online to look for it and I was really surprised by the service they offered.

It gave me the option to use a bike without owning and caring for one. Also, the advantage of a large network of docking stations that allowed me to begin a trip in one part of the city and finish in another, at any time of day. The best part was that I didn’t need to worry about parking, having an expensive lock, or even taking the bike all the way home. If it was raining or if I was tired, I could always hop on the bus or metro.

I was sold on the concept and got myself a one-month Bixi subscription. My first month using Bixi was in the summer and I experienced what many Montrealers enjoy during the warmer months. The good weather, the free activities and festivals, and freedom of Bixi bikes—I miss it.

The real usefulness of Bixi is apparent when people combine it with other urban transportation options, which allows them to cover longer distances more easily. I’ve seen many people use it as a quick way to get to and from the metro, making their commute both easier and healthier. I was really encouraged to use the system in this way when I received six single-ride metro tickets from Bixi with my subscription.

I have been using Bixi since arriving in Montreal from Colombia four months ago. The bike-share service fulfilled a major need I had when I arrived—the same need everybody in the city has—to get from point A to point B. Now instead of waiting for buses to get to my classes at the Loyola campus, I get a bonus of fun and exercise instead.

I ride Bixi bikes for short and long trips and I use them to connect with public transit, like the buses and metro. This seamless use gives me the feeling that I’m using a mass transportation system and not just enjoying a bike-share membership.

If only they were usable for more than half a year, I think Montreal might actually be perfect.

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