The Bixi Logo
With the bankruptcy filing of the Public Bike System Company, more commonly known as Bixi, bike sharing has been getting some stinky press as of late.
Bixi, which is based in Montreal, filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year after it was unable to make payments to suppliers and several municipalities, including New York, Chicago, and its hometown of Montreal. The implementation of bike share systems in Vancouver and Portland has been delayed because of the Bixi blunder, according to reports.
The future may seem gloomy in light of recent events, but mobility nuts shouldn’t fear: there are still several promising bike share systems that are expected to pop up across the U.S.:
1. Arborbike – Ann Arbor, Mich.
A rendering of what the Arborbikes will look like.
(Courtesy of Clean Energy Coalition)
This system is arguably long overdue. Ann Arbor is known for being an environmentally-friendly town, and its large concentration of college students makes it attractive place for a system. The Ann Arbor News reports that The Clean Energy Coalition, a local non-profit, expects to launch 14 stations in June at various locations throughout downtown and near the campus of the University of Michigan. The University has pledged to help fund the program, in addition to support from the city and the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority. Hardware for the program supplied by Wisconsin-based B-Cycle.
The CEC is hoping that area businesses will purchase memberships for their employees or patrons, and they’ve also expressed interest in allowing property owners or developers to underwrite stations around town. Continue reading →
A row of Bixis stood waiting for lunchtime riders in Montreal last fall. Will Bixi be back?
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. Continue reading →
The Bixi Logo
As bike sharing gets more popular, public health officials are concerned people are on bikes without helmets.
A row of Bixis stands waiting for lunchtime riders in Montreal.
These Bixi riders and cyclists at lunch in Montreal. Only one of them is wearing a helmet.
At rush hour, just one Bixi was available near the Atwater station of the Montreal Metro.
One lone Bixi bike in Toronto.
By Micheline Maynard
During my week in Montreal and Toronto, I had my eye out for evidence of bike sharing. I didn’t have to look far in Montreal, which is considered one of the world’s top bike friendly cities. Toronto was a much different story.
I’d booked my Montreal hotel near the Atwater Metro station in Westmount, the traditionally English part of the city, because I wanted to get around with ease. Upon checking in, my hotel clerk handed me a neighborhood map. “Here is the Metro station, you just walk two blocks down the hill,” she explained. “And here are the Bixis.”
In fact, it hadn’t even taken me that long to find them. As soon as my taxi pulled out of Montreal’s central station, I spotted a man on a Bixi waiting at the light.
Over the next few days, I spotted Bixis in all the neighborhoods I visited, at all times of the day, even late in the evening after I was coming back from dinner. People rode Bixis to lunch, and to work, and out for drinks. Late one afternoon, I passed the Atwater Bixi dock and found it held just one bike — all the others were in use.
Ahmed El-Geneidy, associate professor at the School of Urban Planning at McGill University, smiled when I told him that. Montreal, he explained, is the equivalent of a model home for Bixi, the bike sharing company that dominates the world market. It constantly brings visiting civic officials to the city to see bike sharing in action. So, naturally, Bixi docks and bikes are plentiful.
It was not the same in Toronto. Continue reading →
Bay Area Bike Share kicked off this week.
By Micheline Maynard
It’s been the summer of bike sharing! This week, Bay Area Bike Share (or as we’re thinking of it, BABS) kicked off in the San Francisco area. Meanwhile, Chicago is getting to know Divvy Bikes, and New York has thrown its arms around Citi Bike.
They’re just part of the bike sharing movement that has literally swept the world, from Paris to Shanghai, Montreal to Chattanooga. College campuses have bike sharing, and so do many cities around North America.
Have you tried out one of these systems, either in your home town or as a visitor? If so, we’d like you to send us your Bike Share Review.
As we’re doing with My Transportation Diary, we’ll be running these regularly at Curbing Cars. Our first one is ready to go this weekend.
Here’s what we’d like to know: Continue reading →