Bixi bike-sharing service in financial trouble

Montreal's auditor general says he has serious doubts about whether Bixi's Montreal and Toronto bike-sharing services can continue their operations.

Montreal auditor general says he doubts service in Montreal, Toronto can continue

Bixi, a bike-sharing service that originated in Montreal, has been running a deficit since the start. (CBC)

Montreal's auditor general says he has serious doubts about whether Bixi's Montreal and Toronto bike-sharing services can continue their operations.

The news came in a letter addressed to the president of Public Bike System Company, known in French as the Sociétédevélos en libre-service, or SVLS.

Auditor General Jacques Bergeron's report on Bixi's financial year ending on Dec. 31, 2012 will be submitted to Montreal city council today.

​In the letter, dated Sept. 11, Bergeron said the evidence he saw while compiling his annual report on Bixi's operations led him to believe SVLS and Bixi Toronto were in serious trouble.

The Quebec-born bike-sharing service has lost millions of dollars since hitting Montreal streets in 2008

In 2011, Montreal's city council approved a $108-million bailout package for the program to cover a budget shortfall. That included a $37-million loan to cover Bixi's deficit, and another $71-million in loan guarantees to export and develop the system abroad.

The service spread to a number of cities in Canada and around the world. 

New York City just this year introduced its version of Bixi, Citi Bike, to its city grid.

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