bixi pollutes in new ways

ads versus no ads bixi


the plateau is not amused

Now saddled with a carcass that only a culture-jammer could love, the bixi initially struck a high note in Montreal a few years back as a democratic, healthy, clean, and discreet way of getting around in style. Its non-polluting character was a huge part of the draw and – we all thought – a better quality of life was its dignified raison d’etre.

But with the addition of ugly advertising panels to the rear wheels, bixi can no longer claim to be non-polluting, stylish or dignified. And that puts its existence into question.


visual pollution

Montreal’s has a really eclectic core (which can be ugly) and its neighborhoods are extremely different from each other. The addition of the simple and ubiquitous bixi stations provided a unifying design element that united the entire city visually. Now, a bixi station looks more like a ripped bag of pizza boxes left on the road by an irresponsible small businessman.

Is this what the sponsors are trying to communicate: irresponsible business practices?


mental pollution

The mental environment is composed of the private and public spaces in which we live our daily lives. When this space is whored out to corporatism, we are all left with less dignity. Our civic pride is turned into shame, and our education and life experiences are diminished.

I think the bixi ads merit a daily moment of shame. We could all stand in prayer circles around jade representations of Michel Dallaire chanting: “Look what we did to everything we touched.”

political pollution

While the original concept provided a shiny and stunningly simple vision of a sustainable future, the new bikes are a riding tribute to the corporations that ruined the environment.  And the award-winning and democratically utilitarian vehicles are now being deployed in a novel form of indentured sandwich-man slavery.

The money-movers at bixi Inc. have stepped out of line and demonstrated that they are not worthy to run this program. They have done the wrong things to the wrong symbol of the public sphere.


red bixi sm



nationalize (municipalize) bixi

With such a dramatic drop in public approval after a brilliant introduction, bixi is the Obama of public utilities: a slick and award-winning new way for business practices to destroy the earth a tiny bit more.

Perhaps the city needs to step in and nationalize bixi to keep it clean.

Facebook page of rage



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2 Responses to “bixi pollutes in new ways”

  1. James MacLean Says:

    Great post!

  2. François Pedneault Says:

    For those concerned about adevertising in public space, this project may interest you.

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