Is this the end of the line for BIXI in Toronto?
BIXI Toronto must strike a deal with the city before council meets in November or risk going bankrupt, says Cllr. Denzil Minnan-Wong. The bike share company has been struggling to make payments on its $4.8 million startup loan, which was financially backed by the city and has around $3.9 million left to pay.
BIXI has said it needs to add at least 2,000 more bikes in Toronto in order to remain financially viable. The system currently has 1,000 bikes spread between 80 stations, mostly in the centre of the city. 4,600 people are currently registered.
Councillors have been floated several ideas, including integrating the bike share program into the TTC or allowing developers to install stations instead of parking spots, to keep the company solvent.
Minnan-Wong says he is unhappy BIXI "changed the terms" of a private deal recently arranged with the city but didn't offer any more details. "The city is trying to save BIXI. We're not sure it is possible to save BIXI," he said outside yesterday's executive committee meeting. "We're going to continue to negotiate. The clock is ticking."
Do you think the city is really interested in saving BIXI? Do you believe expanding the program could help it become a viable means of transportation? Does it matter if BIXI fails?
Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.