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.
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)
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.[Read more…]
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.
Father Jack Mosbrucker and other members of Jobs With Justice outside Alta offices yesterday. (Photos: Jobs With Justice)
Jobs With Justice, a local non-profit that fights for worker’s rights, paid a visit to the southeast Portland offices of Alta Bicycle Share yesterday. Jobs With Justice is joining the call from past and current employees of an Alta-operated bike share system in Washington D.C. who claim the company has underpaid them and hasn’t given them the health benefits they are owed. (Earlier today we shared a statement from Alta about this issue.)
Chris Phillips with Portland Jobs With Justice contacted us today with photos and a statement. He says a group of about a nine people delivered a petition with over 1,500 signatures (that was started online by the D.C. employees) to Alta’s office on SE Grand. The group was led by Father Jack Mosbrucker, a Catholic priest. [Read more…]
Portland-based Alta Bicycle Share has released an official statement about an inquiry into the companies employee labor practices. At the end of last month, sixteen current and past employees of the Alta-run Capital Bikeshare system in Washington D.C., went public with allegations that the company had underpaid them and failed to provide federally mandated health benefits. An online petition in the form of a letter to Alta VP Mia Birk has over 1,500 signatures.
It’s been a rough few weeks for Alta Bicycle Share VP Mia Birk. The roll-out of the massive and high-profile Citibike system has by many measures been a huge success. But it has also been marred by public allegations of illegal labor practices in Washington D.C. and software glitches and poor customer service in New York City. This bad PR isn’t new for Alta as they’ve come under fire in the past for delayed launches and last year a rival company accused them of unfair conduct while competing for a bikeshare contract in Chicago.
In Washington D.C., a former employee of Alta’s Capital Bikeshare says he was underpaid and not given the health benefits he’s due under federal contract law. Alta operates the Capital Bikeshare under contract with D.C.’s Department of Transportation. Here’s an excerpt from a Washington Post story on May 6th:[Read more…]
So I decided to talk to two national bikesharing experts about Portland’s locally-grown industry leader and the future of bikesharing in general. The two were Matt Christensen, managing editor of Bikeshare.com, a Santa Monica-based website that posts jobs and other news about the bikesharing industry; and Paul DeMaio, founder of DC-based bikeshare consulting firm MetroBike LLC, who’s been publishing The Bike-sharing Blog for six years now.
Bikeshare.com’s Matt Christensen and MetroBike LLC’s Paul DeMaio.
Both of these guys were thoughtful, frank and upbeat in their assessment of where Alta and the concept of bikesharing are headed. The questions and answers below have been combined from separate interviews that covered many of the same subjects.
Portland-based Alta Bicycle Share has done it again. They’ve been chosen to operate a 500 bike, 50 station bike share system in Seattle. The announcement was made today by Puget Sound Bike Share (PSBS). According to a press release, Alta will work with PSBS to plan, launch and sustain a bike share network that will launch in Seattle by spring 2014 and then expand throughout the Puget Sound region.
PSBS Executive Director Holly Houser wrote on the company’s Facebook page today, “We have been and continue to be impressed with Alta’s approach to bike share and their ability to partner with cities and successfully deliver location-specific systems.” [Read more…]