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Vancouver bike share pedalling forward despite Bixi woes

Bixi financial books were opened this week for a bankruptcy hearing.

With the future of the Public Bike System Company (PBSC), owner of  Bixi, unknown, Vancouver has been left with plans for a new bike share program and no one to supply the actual bikes.

On Jan. 20, PBSC filed for bankruptcy protection and owes nearly $50 million to various creditors, but the City of Vancouver committed $6 million for new solar panels to power its bike-share infrastructure. The solar panels were supposed to be ready by spring of this year. Although the program is to be built and maintained by Alta Bike Share Inc. (ABS), a Portland, Ore.-based company, ABS was relying on bikes from Bixi.

ABS is the leading provider of bike-share programs in the United States and was hired to provide 125 docking stations and 1,500 bicycles to Vancouver. It’s up to ABS to find a new supplier for the instalment.

Vancouver remains committed to having the bike share move forward. One of the leading options for a new bike supplier is the SandVault Group, a Richmond, B.C., company that supplied the rides Miami’s program, one of the only profitable bike shares in North America. SandVault made a bid to ABS originally for the Vancouver program but lost the bid to Bixi.

“Our team has continued to work with Alta,” Vancouver Coun. Heather Deal told The Globe and Mail. “It certainly could mean [a delay in Vancouver’s program]. But we’re not in a hurry. We haven’t been rushing this because it’s complicated.”

The City of Vancouver hopes ABS can pull through. But, if they are unable to follow through with the program, Deal noted the city would look elsewhere.