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Portland-based Alta Bicycle Share eyes Bixi purchase

Posted by on June 23rd, 2011 at 10:26 am

City of Portland bike sharing demonstration-16
Bixi is considered one
of the best bike-sharing
systems on the market.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Alta Bicycle Share (a spin-off of Portland-based Alta Planning) that plans and manages bike-sharing systems, says they’d be interested in purchasing Montreal’s Public Bike System Company (PBSC) if it became available.

PBSC is the international company behind the “Bixi” bike-sharing system. According to the Montreal Gazette, it was set up to finance Bixi’s Montreal operations by selling bikes and other hardware to other countries (they visited Portland in August 2009). Recently, Bixi/PBSC have come under serious fire and, following a report by the Montreal auditor general that, “painted the entire arrangement as one rife with procedural and legal irregularities,” there is pressure to sell the international division.

Today, the Montreal Gazette reports that Alta Bicycle Share has come up as a potential buyer.

“Alta Bicycle Share will absolutely look at it closely when the opportunity becomes available… We believe it’s the best technology out there.”
— Alison Cohen, President, Alta Bicycle Share

Alta currently uses the Bixi/PBSC system for its international list of clients — including the largest bike-sharing system in the U.S., Capital Bikeshare.

If Alta purchased PBSC, they would be essentially cutting out the middle-man and would be able to offer a turn-key bike-sharing system to clients.

The president of Alta Bicycle Share, Alison Cohen told the Montreal Gazette yesterday that, it would be “ideal” to buy Bixi’s international division “so the firm could have everything ‘under one roof.’”

I contacted Cohen for comment. She said that nothing is official yet and PBSC isn’t even on the market. But if it does become officially for sale, Alta will definitely take a look:

“Alta Bicycle Share will absolutely look at it closely when the opportunity becomes available. We operate PBSC systems worldwide, and believe that it is the best technology out there, in terms of its urban design, the fact that it is proven to be theft and vandal-proof, its ease of installation and removal [solar powered kiosks mean no underground wiring is needed], and a development team that continues to improve the product to meet the rigorous needs of the market.”

If Alta made the deal (and given the success of their sister company, they’ve likely got the capital to make it happen), it would bring some serious bike-sharing firepower to Portland, would add to our growing bike-related industry, and would mean a boost in local jobs.

PBSC’s latest financial report shows they had a net revenue of $1.515 million in the fiscal ending January 31, 2011.

— Learn more about Bixi on Wikipedia.

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  • Paul Johnson June 27, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    I’m still surprised that there’s no bike share in Portland. Even Tulsa has the Townies.

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