Bixi bike service goes bust in Montreal, but expected to operate this summer

MONTREAL – Montreal’s bike sharing service, Bixi, has gone bust.

Bixi has filed for bankruptcy protection, but Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said Monday that the service is still expected to operate this summer.

However, Coderre said the City of Montreal can’t lend Bixi any more money.

Montreal has provided $37 million in loans to Bixi and is covering about $11 million in loans for the Public Bike System Company, which runs the bike sharing service and was created by the city.

“It’s not the role of the city to replace private enterprise,” Coderre told a news conference.

Coderre said while Bixi is a good idea, he has to protect taxpayers since Montreal has “already done its part.”

Bixi was developed in Montreal in 2008 and expanded internationally to countries such as the United States and Australia.

Coderre says Bixi has been trying to sell its international operations to raise money, but has been unsuccessful so far.

It also operates in Ottawa and Toronto, but Mayor Rob Ford has said Toronto should get rid of the Bixi program because it loses money.

Bike riders can join Bixi for a yearly fee or pay a casual rate for use.