NCC expects Bixi to return despite parent company’s bankruptcy

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The National Capital Commission is preparing for some long-term fallout from the bankruptcy of the company that operates its bike-sharing service but said it still plans to have the system up and running again in April.

A Bixi stand near MacKenzie Avenue.

By Jacob Serebrin

On Monday the Montreal-based Public Bike System Company, which operates Capital Bixi in the National Capital Region, filed for bankruptcy protection.

But the NCC, which owns the actual Capital Bixi bikes and stations, said it expects the company to have the system running again this spring.

“We’re carrying on with our plans for next season,” said Jean Wolff, the NCC’s senior manager of communications.

The NCC has a contract with PBSC to manage and operate the system until the end of 2015. Mr. Wolff said he doesn’t expect that to change as a result of the bankruptcy filing.

According to a press release issued by PBSC on Tuesday, the company will work with the City of Montreal as part of a restructuring process. The company also said that the 2014 BIXI season in Montreal will go-ahead as planned.

The company owes its creditors approximately $50 million. The majority, $37 million, is owed to the City of Montreal.

While the company has had financial problems in the past, it took a big hit this year after a delay in rolling-out a new IT system prompted New York and Chicago to withhold a total of $5.6 million in payments.

Mr. Wolff said that while the restructuring process could mean some changes, it’s too early to speculate about what they could be.

“One can expect that there will be some impacts,” he said. “But it’s premature to comment about the possible effects.”

Despite the financial troubles in Montreal, Mr. Wolff said the NCC’s plan to sell the local Bixi system is moving ahead.

“We said we would provide the Ottawa-Gatineau area with an active transportation system,” said Mr. Wolff.

However once it was set up, the NCC has always planned to “find an entity to take it over.” That process began in July, Mr. Wolff said, and is “still going on as expected.”

Organizations: NCC, Public Bike System Company, Capital Bixi

Geographic location: Montreal, National Capital Region, New York Chicago Ottawa Gatineau

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