Bixi, the Canadian bike share supplier owned by the City of Montreal, has been forced into bankruptcy protection. The not-for-profit company supplies bikes, software packages and docking units to bike share schemes around the world, including London.Bixi also supplies bikes to fifteen city bike sharing schemes, including in Toronto, Ottawa, Minneapolis, Washington D.C. and Melbourne in Australia.
The bike-sharing service's debt is almost $50 million, reports the Montreal Gazette. Bixi was launched in 2009 by the Public Bike System Company, a private, not-for-profit developer. The company - owned by the Montreal tax-payer - has been in financial dire straits since at least 2011.
The Bixi bikes in Montreal, Quebec, are almost identical to the Boris Bikes in London. The bikes are designed by industrial designer Michel Dallaire and built in the Saguenay, Quebec region by Cycles DeVinci.
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said Bixi had a "grim financial portrait," as he announced he had forced the company to enter bankruptcy protection. He said the international expansion of the Bixi service led to the company's trouble and he wants the company to quit its overseas obligations. It's likely Bixi will be forced to sell the international side of its business.
Coderre said Bixi is unable to "meet its financial obligations nor find a viable short-term solution.
Bixi's software - developed by third-party developers - has been plagued with problems, leading to disputes with city's around the world. Alta Bicycle Share, the New York bike share service, has told Bixi it wants $11 million in damages for software delays. There are 37,000 Bixi bikes in operation around the world.