By Frederick Meier
The shock wave traveled across the bicycling community on social media Monday afternoon, when the word came out of Montreal: Bixi, the big name in bike sharing, had filed for bankruptcy protection. Andy Riga, the Montreal Gazette‘s ace transportation reporter, was all over the story (read his coverage here).
The city of Montreal essentially forced Bixi into Canada’s version of Chapter 11 protection, basically in order to give the troubled company a chance to restructure $50 million in debt.
The move has ramifications across North America, because Bixi is the operator of multiple bike sharing programs including Citi Bikes in New York, Divvy Bikes in Chicago, and of course, the eponymous Bixi system in Montreal. (Read our story about bike sharing in Toronto Montreal here.)
Bixi, in fact, is owed $5.6 million by New York and Chicago, which have refused to make payments because of recurrent problems with Bixi-operated software.
We’ve put together a list of the best Bixi stories from yesterday and today, so you can get up to speed on what happened and what’s likely to happen next.
“It’s too early to talk about impact,” a National Capital Commission spokesman says.
Chicago and New York City refuse to make $5.6 million in payments while they await a much-delayed software upgrade.
The Chicago Tribune and the National Post have good articles explaining why the bankruptcy of BIXI Montreal does not spell disaster for ALL of the BIXI-powered systems. Atla Bicycle Share of Portland, which operates BIXI systems in the U.S. and in Australia, may be brought in to take over operations of the Canadian systems in Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa.
Back when Bixi was inaugurated, Montreal’s tourism department produced this video about how Bixi works. The mayor says Bixi will be back in some form this spring. If it doesn’t, this video is now a historic record.