Canadian company behind Nice Ride files for bankruptcy

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The company that created the model for bike-sharing programs in several major cities worldwide is seeking bankruptcy protection.

Forbes reports Montreal-based Bixi filed for Canada's equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday, citing $50 million in debt.

Fifteen cities, including Chicago, New York and Minneapolis have adopted the company's model that uses sturdy bikes and solar-powered docking stations.

Bixi supplies bikes and software for Nice Ride in Minneapolis and St. Paul, a bike-sharing program that has been growing in popularity and is set to expand this year in outstate Minnesota.

Last October, Nice Ride filed a “notice of material breach” against the Public Bike System Co., the city-of-Montreal-controlled firm behind Bixi, claiming the company is not fulfilling the terms of a 2010 purchase agreement. Nice Ride wouldn't say how the contract was breached.

New York and Chicago have withheld payments to Bixi totaling 5.6 million Canadian dollars due delays in implementing software.

The Montreal Gazette reports Bixi owes about $38 million to Montreal taxpayers, but the city hopes selling the company's international business will reduce that amount. No details about potential buyers have been disclosed, the New York Times said.

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