British Columbia

Vancouver bike share program seeking new supplier

The City of Vancouver is seeking a new contractor to install and operate the infrastructure for its beleaguered bike share program.

The city is seeking bids to operate a new public bike share program

The City of Vancouver is seeking new partnerships to develop a public bike share program. (Luc Lavigne/Radio-Canada)

The City of Vancouver is seeking a new company to install and operate its beleaguered bike share program.

"We will see how this competition turns out," said councilor Geoff Meggs. "The City of Vancouver has been trying to find that sweet spot where people can make back a return and there isn't a subsidy from taxpayers." 

City council approved the bike share program in July 2013. It was initially expected to launch by early 2014, but issues with its bicycle supplier, Bixi, and the company that was contracted to run the program, Alta Bike Share, have delayed the program. 

In early 2014 it was announced that the company that owns Bixi owed $50 million to various creditors, including the City of Montreal, and the company was headed for bankruptcy.

Later that year, Alta Bike Share was bought out by New York-based company Motivate

As part of its agreement with the city, Alta Bike Share was meant to secure sponsorship and develop a helmet supply system. The city said those conditions have not been met.

The city also said no money has been given to either company. 

The search for a new operator for the program will include finding better technology and potentially GPS tracking on the bikes. 

Vancouver's bike share plan calls for an initial $6 million investment to set up the program, and an additional $500,000 every year to expand the program with a long-term goal of 125 docking stations for 1,500 bikes throughout the city.

The city did not specify when it would decide which company will receive the winning bid. 

With files from Richard Zussman

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