alta bicycle share

Four ways Portland’s new bike share plan could flop

by on September 9th, 2015 at 12:05 pm

It’s coming. Finally. But will it work?
(Renderings via City of Portland)

Third in a four-post series today about bike sharing in Portland.

Earlier today, we wrote about why Portland’s three-year bike share delay could accidentally make its system one of the smartest in the country.

Now, let’s look at the biggest ways the system could, if approved next week, totally fail.


Portland overhauls bike share plan, braces to launch with or without a sponsor

by on September 9th, 2015 at 5:00 am

Next week, Portland will consider a contract to put 600 “smart bikes” like this one (from Orlando’s Juice system) on the street by next July at no cost to the city.
(Photo: City of Orlando)

First in a four-post series today about bike sharing in Portland.

Nine years after being one of the first U.S. cities to float the concept, the City of Portland plans to announce today that it’s finally ready to launch a public bike sharing system.

The key to the plan, which would be required to launch by July 2016: the city is planning to skip a generation of bike-sharing technology and launch a system that uses “smart bikes” with built-in GPS and self-locking mechanisms. The revised system would be 20 percent smaller but about 55 percent cheaper than the one the city originally planned.


NYC investment company buys Alta Bicycle Share, hires former transit CEO

by on October 28th, 2014 at 2:11 pm

Bike share ride with Oregon team-1
DC’s Capital Bikeshare system was a hit – a bigger one, it turned out, than an independently owned Alta Bicycle Share had the capacity to capitalize on.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

You might have heard by now: A local bike business that bootstrapped its way to the national stage, and then suffered a dizzying series of problems, has sold.

Alta Bicycle Share, a startup that unexpectedly became much larger than the bike planning company that birthed it after launching popular and successful systems in Boston and Washington DC, announced Tuesday that it has been purchased by New York City real estate developer REQX Ventures.

Terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed. In July, the Wall Street Journal pegged the deal at $40 million, but it’s not clear whether any of that money went to Alta’s founders or will be invested directly into the company. It’s also not clear whether Alta’s six cofounders (including local executive and former Portland bicycle coordinator Mia Birk) retain any ownership in the firm.


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

by on April 25th, 2014 at 4:15 pm

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

by on April 25th, 2014 at 3:13 pm

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.


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

by on April 25th, 2014 at 1:55 pm

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

by on March 27th, 2014 at 10:49 am

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.”


Alta Bicycle Share teams up with former PBSC tech provider

by on February 3rd, 2014 at 11:14 am

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)

by on January 21st, 2014 at 1:14 pm

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.


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

by on September 4th, 2013 at 10:12 am

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.