Vancouver mulls ‘plan B’ after Bixi bike supplier goes bust
Vision councillor says proposed public bike program won’t happen if taxpayers are at risk. (QMI AGENCY FILE PHOTO)
Vision Vancouver is working on “plan B” for the city’s proposed bike share program after its proposed bike supplier filed for bankruptcy protection.
On Monday, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said his city, which uses bike share, is owed about $31.6 million by bike supplier Bixi after loaning the Quebec company $37 million.
Vancouver, meanwhile, has committed a $6-million budget to its bike-share project with anticipated ongoing costs of $500,000 annually.
However, the funds had yet to be given to Alta Bicycle Share, an operating company that was expected to use Bixi to supply bikes.
A statement by Mayor Gregor Robertson said the city had always rejected public bike share loan guarantees. He added bike shares have been successful in “hundreds” of cities, and would only launch here “if and when the city is fully satisfied.”
Vision Coun. Kerry Jang said if there’s any risk to taxpayers, the deal “ain’t gonna happen.” His Vision colleague, Coun. Heather Deal, said it’s now up to Alta to figure out who instead could supply bikes and their associated infrastructure.
“We’ll be in touch with Alta … and talk about plan B and how we can continue to move forward.”
Deal said the program launch — if it happens — could be further delayed after Bixi’s bankruptcy announcement. No timeline was established, pending more discussions with Alta, she added.
Non-Partisan Association Coun. George Affleck said large sums of money in staff and legal time had been spent on the project, which he called “flawed” from the start.
“Is this something the city should be spending millions and millions of dollars in, given this scenario?” he said. “The chance of success for the city has always been next to nothing.”