Bixi is going full throttle with its promotional campaign to try to woo back old members and entice new ones to join the bike-sharing program.
Three per cent fewer people signed up in the first six weeks of the Bixi season than at the same time last year. Spokesperson Bérengère Thériault told CJAD 800 News more detailed numbers are expected next month.
The new city-controlled company overseeing Bixi has led to a new push for members: an email and telephone campaign aimed at old subscribers, a half price promotion starting next month for new users.Thériault said phone campaigns have been used in the past for example targetting those who first signed up with them. She said these newer promotions were prompted by the creation of the new board of directors this past spring.
Bixi has been hit with money and software problems, resulting in the new company.
Concordia marketing professor Robert Soroka said that could have made Bixi-users a little skittish.
"Bad publicity definitely has a lot to do with this," Soroka said.
"A lot of people were concerned Bixi might not last the season. People don't usually like to subscribe to organizations or to businesses that have a negative perception in the marketplace no matter how good the service is."
Soroka said Bixi has to start rebuilding its brand and regain people's trust.
"The first thing that must be addressed is why is it that customers were not renewing their memberships," Soroka said.
"(It's) really understanding the customer a little bit better. By thinking that a drop in price is all that's going to take to get people to register, I think that's somewhat misguided."