Ottawa Bixi program still a go despite bankruptcy protection
'It's too early to talk about impact,' National Capital Commission spokesman says
The National Capital Commission says it's planning to continue Ottawa's Bixi bike-sharing program this year, despite the fact the Montreal-based company responsible for maintaining and running Capital Bixi filed for bankruptcy protection Monday.
The company that owns Bixi — the Public Bike System Company, known in French as the Société de vélos en libre-service, or SVLS — owes creditors $50 million, most of it to the City of Montreal.
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Mayor Denis Coderre announced Monday that the city called in its loan, forcing Bixi to file for bankruptcy protection.
But while Montreal will have influence as the largest creditor to help restructure the company, it's unclear what that will mean for other clients, including Ottawa.
The National Capital Commission owns the 250 Bixi bikes and 25 Bixi stations, but the Montreal company has a contract to run the program until the end of the 2015 season.
NCC spokesperson Jean Wolff said Ottawa hasn't been told the contract is in trouble.
"It's too early to talk about impact ... We're pretty sure it will start as scheduled," Wolff said.
Wolff said the program has been a success in terms of rising ridership, but concedes it hasn't made any money.
The NCC has been trying to get some other entity to take the program over, but so far there have been no offers. It plans to go ahead as scheduled to start this year's program on April 15.