Starting five days early in 2018, bicycles are available to rent for rides across the city of Montreal. Could it finally be spring? (BIXI-Montréal)

Bike-sharing service opens early in Montreal

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Given the typical, wild swings in weather in Montreal in April, citizens will grasp at any sign that spring is really on the way. One of those signs is that Bixi, the city’s bike-sharing service, opened today and it has done so five days earlier than in previous years.

A first in North America

Ten years ago, Montreal’s bike-sharing system was born and was the first in North America. It was named one of the best inventions of the year by Time Magazine and the model was soon after adopted by other large cities including Washington, London and Melbourne.

This year, Bixi is offering discounts for students and those over the age of 65. And a new 10-ride package will cost $25 as opposed to the regular $29.50. Plus there will be several Sundays where the service will free courtesy of Manulife, a sponsor of the program. There are 6,250 bikes available from 540 stations.

This is a file photo of Bixi bikes and trees in Montreal. Today is only April 10, 2018 and the trees are not yet green. (BIXI-Montréal)

Electric bikes, maybe

Bixi management is looking at the possibility of eventually offering electric bikes  which would allow people from neighbourhoods further out to be able to use the service. It also will also add to the current system of redistributing the bikes in an eco-friendly way by using two tricycle trailers in addition to the usual trailer trucks.

It could still snow

Now, whether spring is really here is another question. The high temperature today is only 7 degrees Celsius, and rain and some light snow flurries are forecast for the weekend. And for now, it doesn’t look like the temperature will reach double digits until April 21. Such is the nature of April in the southern part of the province of Quebec.

It could be worse. There is always a possibility of a full-blown snow storm with the only consolation that it would likely melt fast. Sigh.

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