Photo: Erik Pendzich/REX USA.
We can all agree that today is not a day for cycling. But, for almost a year now, CitiBikes have been a reliable, affordable transportation system for New Yorkers. So, what does it mean now that Bixi, the company that developed the CitiBike technology, has filed for bankruptcy protection? The Montreal-based nonprofit reportedly owes $29 million to the city of Montreal and $8.3 million to its suppliers, according to the Montreal Gazette. But, it looks like New York City is partially to blame for this debt.
This isn't the first time the company has faced financial trouble. In 2011, the city of Montreal bailed out Bixi to the tune of $108 million. On January 15, the nonprofit received a letter ordering repayment, but it was unable to meet its obligation — partially because Bixi is waiting on payments from a number of cities. New York, for example, owes the tech company $3 million. As a result, Bixi received 30 days of bankruptcy protection, which could potentially extend to six months.
So, are your beloved blue bikes in danger? It seems unlikely that CitiBikes will be going anywhere. Bixi's technology is licensed in the U.S. by Alta Bicycle Share. In October, Alta's vice president Mia Birk spoke to The Atlantic Cities: "No matter what happens with [Bixi], Alta Bicycle Share will continue now and in the future to provide world-class products and services to our clients." Though our bike-sharing program is safe for now, it's definitely something to keep an eye on as the financial situation unfolds. (Gizmodo)