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First look at locally made ‘Truck Trike’ headed for NYC

Friday, April 25th, 2014
Truck Trike by Stites Design-3
This custom ‘Truck Trike’, made in southeast Portland by Stites Design, will soon be on the streets of Manhattan hauling Citi Bike bikes between rental stations.
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)

When a local bike company toils on cool projects for many years, then finally breaks through to something big, we get really excited. Such is the case with Stites Design, the southeast Portland company that has sold a custom version of their electric-assist Truck Trike to Alta Bicycle Share for use in the Citi Bike bike share system in New York City. (more…)

Startup by former Alta executives scores Philadelphia bike share contract

Friday, April 25th, 2014
Former Alta Bicycle Share president Alison Cohen, CEO
of Bicycle Transit Systems, spoke in Philadelphia Thursday.
(Photo: Bicycle Transit Systems)

A bike share operations startup founded by five ex-Alta Bicycle Share employees, three of them based in Portland, scored a major new contract Thursday.

Bicycle Transit Systems, which like its CEO Alison Cohen is headquartered in Philadelphia, will operate that city’s bike share system, which is scheduled to launch in spring 2015 with at least 600 stations.

It’s the first time in years that Portland-based Alta Bicycle Share, the market leader and operator of the popular systems in Washington DC, Boston, New York City and Chicago, has missed out on such a big new contract.

(more…)

Portland made ‘Truck Trike’ will help haul Citi Bikes in New York

Friday, April 25th, 2014
The Truck Trike by Bill Stites-7
Bill Stites on his Truck Trike in 2010.
(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

A Portland company has developed a new tool that will help New York City’s Citi Bike bike share system perform the important job of “rebalancing.”

Bill Stites of Stites Design has worked with Citi Bike vendor Alta Bicycle Share to create a prototype “truck trike” that will haul bike share bikes between kiosks in New York City’s crowded streets. (We profiled Stites’ trike back in 2010.) We’re getting a closer look at the trike today and Alta has just sent out the following statement about a media/launch event on Monday: (more…)

3 lessons for Portland as Citi Bike struggles to break even

Thursday, March 27th, 2014
Citi Bike Launch
Citi Bike’s launch last summer.
(Photo: NYCDOT)

A Wall Street Journal report last week that New York City’s wildly popular bike share system has been operating in the red has, understandably, rattled the Portland transportation world as we wait for a similar system here.

I’ll start by rounding up the burst of media coverage, then offer some quick analysis.

The Journal report last Thursday, which we linked to in this week’s Monday Roundup, kicked things off. An Oregonian news roundup followed focused the blame on Alta, the Portland-based company that manages Citi Bike and has the contract for Portland’s future system. A follow-up editorial from the Oregonian called on the city to scrap its plan and put the money to other bike projects, seemingly misreading a recent bike sharing study to draw the conclusion that a Portland system is “almost certain to require a hefty annual operating subsidy from Portland taxpayers.”

(more…)

Alta Bicycle Share teams up with former PBSC tech provider

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

In a big move that will impact bike sharing in the United States and beyond, Portland-based Alta Bicycle Share has announced a new “strategic partnership” with 8D Technologies.

8D is the company that formerly worked closely with the Public Bicycle System Company (PBSC, a.k.a. Bixi), the Montreal based company that filed for bankruptcy late last month. Alta uses the PBSC platform in the many bike share systems they operate and manage around the country and some of those systems (in Boston and Washington D.C.) are operated with software developed by 8D Technologies.

But the relationship between 8D and PBSC soured when PBSC began to export their successful Bixi system to the U.S. while allegedly secretly developing their own software and cutting 8D out of the picture. In April 2012 8D sued PBSC for breach of contract. (more…)

Key supplier to Portland’s bike share vendor files for bankruptcy (updated)

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014
City of Portland bike sharing demonstration-16
Montreal-based Public Bicycle System Company (PBSC), the makers of the Bixi bike share system that has been deployed throughout North America and a key supplier of equipment and technology for Portland bike share, has filed for bankruptcy.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

More big — and bad — news from Montreal’s Public Bicycle System Company (PBSC, a.k.a. Bixi) was announced yesterday. The company that supplies the hardware and software for America’s largest bike share systems has filed for bankruptcy protection to help restructure $38 million in debt.

In other words, in order to continue operating, the company has been granted the right to ignore some of its debts and negotiate with its creditors on any other available ways to compensate them. Though this doesn’t seem likely to directly affect Portland’s coming bicycle share system launch (and may actually improve things, since a bankruptcy-protected Bixi could be more financially stable) it is big news within the fast-growing bike sharing industry.

(more…)

10 key details from Portland’s bike share proposal and contract

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013
A rendering by Alta Bicycle Share of a future Portland
bike share station at downtown’s Director Park.

As public bike share systems continue to become standard public services in cities around the country, we figured it was time to learn more about what’s in store for Portland.
(more…)

Where should Portland’s bikeshare stations go? Ten maps that might help

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013
Portland’s draft plan for locations of the first bikeshare stations, shared online by KATU.com. Possible phase-two expansion locations are purple, and eventual expansion areas in blue. (Click to enlarge)

(more…)

“Mistakes” aside, city says Alta’s labor issues won’t affect Portland Bike Share

Thursday, July 11th, 2013
Behind the scenes at Capital Bikeshare-14-2
Mechanics at Capital Bikeshare
headquarters in Washington D.C.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Alta Bicycle Share Vice President Mia Birk acknowledged Wednesday that “we definitely make mistakes,” but that her fast-growing company is learning from its possible violation of federal labor rules and taking steps to avoid future wage issues.

Meanwhile, Portland city lawyers say the “prevailing wage” law that Alta may have run afoul of in Washington, D.C., which requires government contractors to be paid at higher than market price, won’t affect Portland’s forthcoming bike share system because it applies only to direct contracts with the District of Columbia or federal government itself. (more…)

Guess what? NYC’s bike share system is popular and working well

Friday, July 5th, 2013
What a difference a few weeks makes.

Five weeks in, New York City’s new bike share system seems to be doing just fine.

Initially plagued with problems (and negative headlines), Citi Bike’s main issue these days is keeping up with demand for the popular new mode of transit.

“After two weeks of using the program pretty much every day to get from Grand Central to the office in the morning (a block from Penn Station) and back in the evening, plus a few other trips here and there, I can’t say how much I love this program,” a man named Mike Cordelli wrote on Citi Bike’s Facebook page Wednesday afternoon.

As we (and many other news outlets) wrote last month, Citi Bike, managed by Portland-based Alta Bicycle Share, had serious problems as it was getting off the ground. An estimated one in 10 docks were failing to accept or release bikes. Membership keys were delayed. Customer service lines were clogged. (more…)

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