Public Bike System Co. Goes Bankrupt

But bike-sharing not doomed

Jan 22, 2014
Outside Magazine
New York City Bike Share CitiBike

New York City commuters bikes from the CitiBike bike-sharing program, whose supply company went bankrupt this week.    NYDOT/Flickr

A Canadian company that equips and supplies bike-sharing systems in major cities around the world sought bankruptcy protection on Monday.

According to NPR, Public Bike System Co., which owns the BIXI bike-sharing system, cited almost $50 million in debt. Bike-sharing, however, is not doomed. In fact, this method of transportation has more than doubled in the last year in the United States. 

"I don't think that [the news of the bankruptcy] is necessarily the death knell of bike sharing systems," says professor of urban planning at Rutgers University John Pucher. "If you look at public transport systems, [a lack of profit] certainly has not been the death knell of public transport in the U.S."

In the short-term, bike-share users with memberships should not be worried about seeing their stations disappear. Alta Bike Share, which operates most of the PBSC's American bike-share stations, said in a statement that operations will continue without interruption.

According to The Gazette, Montreal mayor Denis Coderre assured residents that the BIXI will still be in operation this summer.

"I just see this as a chance for cities to learn—we can't run our transportation systems like a business, it doesn't really work that way because then we run the risk of not serving the people that need to be served," Elly Blue, author of Bikenomic, told NPR. "I don't see this as being a very big bump in the road for bike share."

See the map below to see if the bike-sharing program in your city is supplied by PBSC.

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