Bixi bankruptcy may further delay Vancouver bike-share program

The implementation of a bike-share system in Vancouver could be further delayed, after the proposed equipment provider for the program filed for bankruptcy protection.

Poll

Do you think a bike-share program will come to fruition in Vancouver?

Yes 33%
7 votes
No 52%
11 votes
Don't know 14%
3 votes

But city councillor Heather Deal noted that Vancouver’s negotiations have been with Alta Bicycle Share, and not with Montreal bike-share business Bixi.

“Our staff will be working with Alta on other options moving forward,” she told the Straight by phone.

Council approved a motion last July to finalize an agreement with the Portland-based operator, which had planned to sub-contract to Bixi to provide the bikes. The program was expected to launch in two phases beginning early this year.

Deal said a contract has not been signed with the company, as the city hasn’t seen a business plan yet that they are prepared to approve.

“Nothing has been signed, and we’re continuing to work with Alta to see if we can come up with a solution that works for all of us,” the Vision Vancouver councillor said.

Non-Partisan Association councillor George Affleck said the viability of the proposed bike-share program has always been “questionable” to him. 

“We need to, I believe, take a step back, stop using up staff resources and staff time doing all this due diligence when in fact it doesn’t seem like it’s a viable prospect for us at this point,” he said in a phone interview.

Deal said city staff will be working with Alta on other possible partners for the program. She said there are currently no estimates on how much Vancouver’s bike-share system could be delayed.

“It’s unfortunate, but we’ll continue to work with Alta, and hopefully we’ll still be able to come up with a successful program,” said Deal.

“But the first thing is to protect the taxpayer and make sure that it’s a good plan and a good business plan, and that we’re not taking any extra risk on, which we have said we will not do.”

Mayor Gregor Robertson also noted in a statement issued today that Bixi is not the “primary partner” in Vancouver’s bike-share program.

“Vancouver has always refused to offer any of the loan guarantees or obligations that have created significant risk to taxpayers in other cities,” he said.

“Public bike sharing has been successfully established in hundreds of cities worldwide and it will be an important addition to our city’s transportation network, but it will only launch in Vancouver if and when the City is fully satisfied that all partners involved can move forward with operations that are successful and fiscally responsible.” 

Comments (13) Add New Comment
Too Weeled
Hilarious. So, the city is committed to a bike share program, put substantial financial and human resources behind it including justifying the building of infrastructure to support it but doesn't know from whereof or when bikes make be made available? Brilliant. Please ensure moonbeam and his cronies are re-elected. They've proven over and over again to be competent representatives of the taxpayers of this city.
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Mark
What a complete joke! How can you possibly spend so much money on infrastructure and not actually secure the bikes that will be used?

The mayor is not telling the truth. The city is actually relying on Bixi, given that Alta Bicycle Sharing is completely reliant on Bixi, given that it's the only company they've relied on for equipment.
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Tyler
I hope the Translink referendum in November will bring out more voters to the civic election to vote these Vision goons out of office. In BC, we don't vote people in, but we do vote people out. Robertson, if you're smart, don't run for mayor again because you won't get in...that's a fact!
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mike
Get out now and be glad you have only blown a million or so of tax payer money
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Who could have predicted this?.
Pretty much everyone. This just proves how deluded and bad for Vancouver this ideological clown show really is.

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Bike Fiasco
The whole bike lane/bike share program crammed down our throats is proving to be the biggest bust our city has seen. What a crock. I notice how many more cars sit idle in traffic as a result of the bike lanes and cant help but think of the decrease in traffic flow through an increase in emissions.

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Doug
Worst mayor in Canada.
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BPlan
The business plan seems to be get Government Ca$h than file for Bankruptcy...
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boris moris
I see the NPA shills are out in full force here and, as per usual, they haven't stopped to consider the obvious. The vast majority of Vancouver cyclists own their own bikes and benefit from the safety of bike lanes. It's also ludicrous to think Bixi was the only company capable of providing bikes for this program which, when implemented, will provide bikes to people taking transit into the city from the burbs. It's all about getting people out of their vehicles...or hadn't you noticed that our streets are filled with polluting, single passenger, over powered ego strokers?

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Alan Layton
Heather Deal said that 500 cities around the world have bike share programs. So we know that Vancouver is going to get one eventually regardless of how much it costs or how lousy it might be. But I still think it's going to be tourists using them rather than citizens. I don't believe it's going to do anything to reduce global warming. It's just window dressing.
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cul de sac
i've been traveling, every decent city has a bike share program now. i'm always impressed how we can't get anything right in this town. same thing with the compass program, how is it that no other place seems to have difficulty implementing a system like that? only us.
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Michael
People are correct to note that cycling infrastructure has indeed been built in Vancouver (but not enough IMO). But they are quite disingenuous to assert that because Bixi has declared bankruptcy that somehow these efforts to build safe cycling infrastructure are tax monies wasted. What bizzaro universe do you live in? Even an anecdotal observation will confirm that cycling is gaining popularity in Vancouver, especially among its younger citizens. The NPA wants to fight an election around cycling? Bring it! Here's the real reason they are opposed: http://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2013/12/15/conservatives-new-enemy-bike...
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Rob M.
I like the idea of bike sharing as an adjunct to transit - especially as I view downtown 10 to 20 years from now. I don't expect it to be any more perfect in its first time out than say Translink, ferries or even car sharing. I sincerely believe that working out a successful bike sharing program will be part of a complex answer for our transportation and possibly health issues. In lieu of the carbon footprint etc. I feel pretty good biking.
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