VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Could Vancouver’s bike share program be in jeopardy?
The Quebec-based company that was supposed to supply the bikes has filed for bankruptcy protection.
The company actually owes both Montreal and Toronto after those cities lent them money to prop up the programs.
Councilor Heather Deal says Vancouver doesn’t have similar obligations. “The main thing is we’re protecting the taxpayers. We haven’t signed any contracts yet, we’re not backing any loans like some cities have done. So the taxpayer is not under any stress from this at all.”
Bixi was supposed to provide the actual bikes to the company Vancouver is working with for its program.
Deal says if Vancouver can still come up with a financially viable plan they’ll go ahead with it. “We’re hopeful that we can produce a successful program here but we clearly need to make sure that we’re back at the table looking at a successful business model before anything is signed.”
She acknowledges that the bankruptcy ruling could create a negative perception. “I suspect that people will try to make it a political football, but given that multiple city councils over the years have looked at this and thought that it was a good idea I’m hoping that we can actually look at this as a great asset for the city and try not to politicize it.”
City staff are still trying to find a way to make the program work.
It was supposed to originally be operational by this summer.