Posted by: UrbanGreenGirl | June 17, 2009

BIXI: not all it’s cracked up to be

Urban Green Girl on BIXI

Urban Green Girl on BIXI

So much for being excited by something you end up being screwed by.

$67 dollars later, I realise BIXI wasn’t exactly what I thought it was.

Not ideal for tourists.

Not ideal for ad-hoc bike rides.

Is good for bike taxi needs.

I guess this would have been clear had I read their press releases but silly me, excited by their presence everywhere, I wanted to ride one impatiently. I misread their confusing rental fee stickers on the machine, despite the fact I read them in detail.

What I thought was $5 max per day, ended up being the fee for using BIXI without a subscription plus there’s an additional $12/hr.

After reviewing my credit card statement, I called their customer service department and explained my point of view. My friend who rented it didn’t even understand and interpreted their fee system completely different then me,  and yet we’re both educated professionals.

BIXI was kind enough to remove half of the cost to $30, which is the average cost of a bike rental in Montreal. They also mentioned they would take this into consideration when reprinting the fee system labels on their bike docks.

They are, after all, new. It was just a year ago they were given the mandate by the government to develop BIXI. Factor in time for bike prototyping, it doesn’t leave much time for marketing and communication.

BIXI is meant to be an alternative to taxis and a complement to public transport, thus the price is reasonable when you use it for under 1 hour. It is not ideal for long rides, thus the higher price.

Use it if it makes sense for you.

If you’re after a bike rental for a day, go to a bike rental place, BIXI is not for you.


  1. There is actually a system you can use if you want to reduce costs if you want to use bixi for longer periods of time. The usage fees only kick in after half an hour. Therefore, if you return the bike to the docking station and wait 5 minutes, you can simply take another, or even the same bike to continue your ride. Since you’ve already paid the user fee for the day, you aren’t charged additionally for blocks of use under 30 minutes.

  2. I got ripped off in the exact same way! Very bizarre pricing system and the signage is completely obscure. I wasn’t impressed.

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