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Friday, October 05, 2007

"Self-serve" bicycle rentals

Those of you who have read about the bicycle tours I've done over the years know that I have a soft spot for the the Canadian province of Quebec. Every once in a while, I visit the Montreal Gazette's Web site to get my fix of Canadian news, and I happened to come across this item:
The city of Montreal plans to be the first North American city to set up a large-scale "self-serve" public bike rental service.

Following in the footsteps, or pedalling along the same path, as European cities such as Paris and Lyon where such systems have recently exploded in popularity, Montreal hopes to get its project started by next fall and fully operational by late 2009. ...

The idea is to encourage Montrealers and tourists to use the public bicycles instead of cars for short, inner city trips, allowing them to pick up a bike at one station, use it for half an hour or an hour, and then drop it off at any other station of their choice.
Andre Lavallee, a city executive committee member responsible for transportation issues, said the program will be the first not only in Quebec, but in all of North America.

"We used to see cycling as recreation, but now thousands of people are using bikes to get to work, or school," Lavallee said at a press conference Thursday. "This summer, we actually saw traffic jams of cyclists on some of our new bike routes, like St. Urbain. Something is changing right now in Montreal and we all have to come along on this wave."

Whether the wave is strong enough to make it south to the United States remains to be seen.

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Roger 1 comments links to this post 11:15 AM

Mayor Daley made the news in Chicago last month with this very suggestion. Go Montreal for actually doing it!
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