PBSC Urban Solutions

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PBSC Urban Solutions is a corporation based in Longueuil, that operates bicycle sharing systems in Canada, United States, Mexico, United Kingdom and Australia. [2] The company has close to 47,000 bikes and 3,800 stations in 15 cities [3] [4] and two University Campuses. [5] [6] Its system uses solar powered wireless terminals in the stations. [7] PBSC's headquarters are located in the greater Montreal area.

The bike-sharing system was introduced in May 2009 with 3,000 bicycles and 300 stations in Montreal. [8] In 2010, the system was introduced in Minneapolis, [9] London, [10] Washington D.C [2] [2] and Melbourne. [2] Later on, the company eventually extended its system to Boston [2] and Toronto [2] in 2011, Chattanooga [15] in 2012, New York, [2] the Stony Brook University, [6] Aspen, [2] San Francisco, [2] Chicago [19] [3] and Columbus [3] in 2013.

At the end of the year 2013, PBSC started having financial problems that lead the company filing for bankruptcy in early 2014. [3] [3] Bruno Rodi purchased the international division in April 2014 and renamed the company PBSC Urban Solutions. [4] [3] He then sold the majority share to Luc Sabbatini in January 2015, who became CEO. [4] Since then, PBSC Urban Solutions has extended its activity in Mexico with the Huizi system in Toluca, [3] has signed a contract in Honolulu [3] and has extended its activities in Chicago, [26] Guadalajara [19] and Toronto. [3]

As of today, PBSC Urban Solutions is the sole owner of all the intellectual property (patents, designs, trademarks, etc.) related to the PBSC public bike share system (used in cities like London and Washington) and is also providing some cities (including Chicago, San Francisco, Columbus, Guadalajara in Mexico) with the software solution. [3]

Current systems

The cities that have implemented its bicycle rental systems are listed below [4] .

City Country Launch date System


Stations Bikes
Aspen/Basalt, Colorado United States 2013/2016 We-cycle 16 200
San Francisco, California United States 2013 Bay Area Bike Share 104 1040
Boston/Cambridge United States 2011/2015 Hubway 158 1461
Chattanooga, Tennessee United States 2012 Bike Chattanooga 33 300
Chicago, Illinois United States 2013 Divvy 576 5837
Columbus, Ohio United States 2013 CoGo 41 335
Guadalajara Mexico 2014 MIBICI 242 2116
London United Kingdom 2010 Santander Cycles 839 13600
Melbourne Australia 2010 Melbourne Bike Share 53 676
Minneapolis, Minnesota United States 2010 Nice Ride Minnesota 171 1833
Montreal Canada 2009 BIXI 452 5220
New York City, New York United States 2013 Citi Bike 458 7000
New York (Stony Brook University) United States 2013 Wolf Ride 8 63
Toluca Mexico 2015 Huizi Toluca 27 350
Toronto Canada 2011 Bike Share Toronto 201 2000
Washington, D.C. / Arlington, Washington United States 2010 Capital BikeShare 395 4351
Washington, D.C. (Washington State University) United States 2010 GreenBike Program 11 106
Others 9 93

System components

A complete station is made up of a pay station, bikes, and bike docks (where the bikes are housed), which are fitted into modular technical platforms that are powered by solar panels. These technical platforms are the base and electronic ports for pay stations and bike docks. Bike stations can be created, expanded, configured and removed in about half an hour, monitored by a real-time management system. Excavation or preparatory work is not required, enabling the installation of a bike station as an adjunct to on-street parking.

The bike dock and locking system

Bike docks serve to house and lock bikes. Made from aluminium, these modular docking stations are formed by a combination of groups of four docks, which are modular themselves. Inspired by ANAT technology, the bike dock's modularity allows a pay station to be deployed in the place of a single dock. Maintenance and repair of the system is simplified thanks to a removable module present in every docking station which contains the locking system and all critical components that allow the system to function. In case of repairs, this module can be replaced with an identical one immediately, reducing the down-time of the system. The locking system is based on an energy efficient actuator used in the medical sector. The principal inventor of these systems is Charles Khairallah, [29] president of Robotics Design, [30] [31] [32] [33] with co-inventor Michel Dallaire, president of Michel Dallaire Industrial Design. [34]

Pay station

Users can rent a bike using a subscriber key (a Bixi key in Montreal, a Divvy Key in Chicago) obtained through a long-term online subscription (30 days or annual) or an access code provided by the pay station (24-hour access). Pay stations are touchscreen-operated and only accept credit cards. A button is used to notify the operator of any defective bicycles.

The bikes

The bicycles are utility bicycles with a unisex step-through frame with an upright sitting position and are equipped with 3 speed internal hub gears, drum brakes, fenders, chain guard, lights, and a front rack.

The one-piece aluminum frame and handlebars conceal cables and fasteners in an effort to protect them from vandalism and inclement weather. The heavy-duty tires are designed to be puncture-resistant and are filled with nitrogen to maintain proper inflation pressure longer. [35] Twin LED rear lights are integrated into the robust frame, which weighs approximately 18 kg. The bikes are designed by industrial designer Michel Dallaire and built in the Saguenay, Quebec region by Cycles Devinci, with aluminum provided by Rio Tinto Alcan. [36]

On January 26, 2016 PBSC Urban Solutions unveiled a new generation of bike share bicycles at the Velo-city conference: [15] [26] [37]

The ICONIC model based on the original BIXI, a robust bike that marked the launch of the bike-sharing industry in 2009. The company stated that the ICONIC model sports 30 key improvements to the design and functionality. [5]

The FIT, which is a lighter rendition of the ICONIC model, was made with lighter components such as a smaller frame, thinner grip and smaller wheels for a better manoeuvrability. [37] [5]

The BOOST is a new pedal assist electric model featuring a battery that charges as the bike sits locked into its station. These new bicycles might be installed on city streets at the end of 2016. [28]


Mobile application

CycleFinder is the official application of the bike sharing systems, member of the PBSC Urban Solutions Inc. Family. [5] [5] It can be used to find nearby stations manually or using a GPS, available bike or free docking point, a route to a destination, have the distance, elevation and more. [5]

Transit App

In 2015, PBSC Urban Solutions announced a partnership with Transit App, [5] an application that provides an integrated transactional platform for its bike-sharing system. By using this application, bike-share users are able to plan their urban travel, pay via their smart phone, and unlock a bike with a mobile generated access code. [5]

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