Bike-Share Operator Bixi Files for Bankruptcy

With debts in excess of $30 million owed to the city of Montreal, and unhappy customers in New York City and Chicago refusing to pay for outstanding bills, the Bixi bike-share company has been forced to file for bankruptcy protection.
January 21, 2014, 5am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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The pioneering publicly-backed bike-share company Bixi has been forced to seek bankruptcy protection amid "legal disputes, software glitches, upgrade delays," and withheld payments, reports Andy Riga. The company's international expansion, which was intended to finance bike-share operations in Montreal, and the failure to sell its international operations are being blamed for the company's collapse. 

Bixi owes the city of Montreal $38 million and suppliers about $9 million. "The city said it sent Bixi a letter on Jan. 15 demanding the money it is owed," notes Riga. "Unable to pay, Bixi filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday (Jan. 20)."

According to Montreal's mayor, the company still plans to operate its bike-share system in the city this year. There's no word on how the bankruptcy filing may affect systems aligned with Bixi in other cities.

UPDATE (1/22/14): In an article in The Atlantic Cities, Sarah Goodyear relays this statement on the status of several Bixi-aligned systems: "Mia Birk, vice president of Alta Bicycle Share, which operates eight Bixi-provided bike-share systems in the United States and Melbourne, Australia, said in an email shortly after the bankruptcy announcement that operations of those systems would be unaffected."

"Our systems across the country — in Washington, D.C., Boston, New York City, Chicago, the Bay Area, Columbus, OH, and Chattanooga, TN — are up and running and ABS will ensure that they continue to operate without interruption,” Birk wrote. “Given our plans to expand current systems and launch new systems this year, we're in constant communication with both PBSC as well as its suppliers to ensure we can do so successfully.”

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Published on Monday, January 20, 2014 in The Montreal Gazette
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