Vancouver bike share program hits road bump
Company responsible for supplying bikes allegedly in financial trouble
The City of Vancouver says that its promised bike share program will be delayed following reports of financial trouble for the private company that is supposed to supply the bicycles.
On Wednesday, the Toronto Star reported it had obtained internal city documents from Toronto that found that Bixi, the company behind a major surge in bike share programs throughout North America, was "insolvent or imminently insolvent."
Bixi has been operating in Toronto since 2011.
In July, Vancouver's city council approved a $6 million plan to install 25 solar-powered docking stations for 250 bikes in the city's downtown core by spring 2014. The program will be operated by Alta Bicycle Share Inc., but will depend on bicycles and infrastructure supplied by Bixi.
An additional $500,000 will be committed every year to expanding the program with a long-term goal of 125 docking stations for 1,500 bikes throughout the city.
But city transportation manager Jerry Dobrovolny says that that no money will be spent until Alta and Bixie can present a realistic business plan to council and staff.
"It's a clear business deal. We want to see that they have a deal that be successful, that limits the city's risk, and until we get that, we won't sign a contract," he told CBC News.
While Bixi has assured the city they will be able to expand to Vancouver, Dobrovolny says the expected start date for the program has been moved to a yet undetermined time in 2014.
With files from CBC's Steve Lus