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Other bike-share companies ready to jump into Vancouver if Alta/Bixi deal falls through

January 23rd, 2014 · 217 Comments

As news of Bixi’s request for bankruptcy protection washed across North America this week, there was a lot of bike-share angst. Also, confusion. A lot of people think that Bixi = bike-share, so therefore if Bixi if having troubles, bike-share everywhere must be doomed to failure.

I note that B-Cycle (currently operating in 21 cities) felt obliged to post this statement on its website:

While all of us at B-cycle regret the unfortunate news that PBSC has filed for bankruptcy we feel it is important to note that this occurrence is not an indication of the future of bike share. B-cycle has implemented successful bike share systems in 30 locations in both North and South America and continues to work with a growing number of cities looking for more sustainable transportation options, most recently installing systems in Santiago, Chile and Austin, Texas. Largely owned by Trek Bicycle, one of the world’s most successful bicycle companies, B-cycle is financially stable and operates under a fiscally responsible business model that delivers results for all of our systems. We believe the future of bike share is bright and look forward to bringing sustainable transportation to more of the world for years to come.

Back here in Vancouver, the Bixi mess was a reminder that there WERE other bidders interested in providing a bike-share system for Vancouver. Six expressed interest when the city called for proposals back in 2011 (not last year, as I mistakenly said). One was a local consortium that included a Richmond company that is doing bike-share hardware for Miami Beach, Oklahoma, and Sao Paulo, Brazil, among other places.

I did a story for the Globe yesterday that explored what might happen next a little.

This morning, I also got a message from another person unhappy about Vancouver’s commitment to what seems like a floundering Alta deal.

His comments:

In the nearly three years since this RFEOI was released, much has changed with the bike share industry, as you might expect with any nascent industry, especially one that is effectively technological in nature.

The City of Vancouver continues to negotiate exclusively with Alta behind a curtain — there is no contract, only a continued commitment by the City to negotiate exclusively. If the City has wants to implement a bike share program it should be done openly and transparently, to the benefit of the city and its citizens. It is time for the City to re-open the bidding process.


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