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Bike Sharing Just Got Greener With Montreal's New Bixi
Following the huge success of Paris' Velib bike sharing program, we've been wondering how long it would take for North American to get in on the action. Leave it to Frenchy Montreal to show everyone up by being the first on the continent to put the pedal to the metal.
Launched last week, the Bixi program (a combo of "bike" and "taxi") puts aluminum Montreal-made bicycles on the streets, available for rental with annual memberships of $75, a daily rate of $5, or per-hour pricing following a free first half-hour. By June 7, the city is aiming to place 3,000 of the bikes at 300 hubs around the city, and your rented Bixi may be picked up at and returned to any of them.
And these babies weren't named one of Time's top 50 top inventions of 2008 for no reason; the bike docks are equipped with wireless RFID technology which can immediately signal if one is defective, and the pay station itself is touch-screen with energy support from solar panels. According to the Vancouver Sun, this model of bike sharing in Montreal is what's being studied for the future in other bike-desperate cities like New York and London. Bring it on!