Booming Globally, Bike-Sharing Spins Its Wheels in Montreal

Bixi bikes in Montreal

“Today there are an estimated 639 bicycle-sharing schemes operating in 53 countries located in almost every region of the world, boasting a total of about 643,000 bicycles,” bike-sharing expert Peter Midgley writes in a new blog post for EMBARQ, a program of the environmental think tank World Resources Institute.

Thirteen years ago, there were just six bike-sharing systems operating in six countries: Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, and Portugal, with a total fleet of over 4,000 bicycles. The largest of these schemes was Copenhagen with 2,000 bicycles. Today, bike-sharing systems are zooming in popularity.

But one major North American city has not succeeded in establishing its bike-sharing system on a firm financial footing, writes Midgley, who worked as the Urban Mobility Theme Champion for the global Transport Knowledge Partnership, after a long career at The World Bank.

Five years after opening the Bixi bike-sharing system, the Montreal-based Public Bike System Company (PBSC) has accrued a debt of around $50 million.

On January 20 Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre announced that Bixi is insolvent and it has filed for bankruptcy protection.

The Bixi system looked good at the outset with its convenient payment dock and removable modules that made it easy to service the bicycles. The system was popular with cyclists, but it was plagued with problems.

Read the full story here.

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About jensera

Jennifer Harrington is a Toronto-based illustrator, writer and graphic designer. She illustrated the best-selling children’s book series 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' which includes the titles 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' 'The Night Before a Canadian Christmas' and 'Canadian Jingle Bells.' She is also the owner of JSH Graphics, a boutique graphic design agency that specializes in print and web advertising. With her latest project, Eco Books 4 Kids, Jennifer has partnered with illustrator Michael Arnott to create a series of ecologically-themed ebooks for children. Her next book, 'Spirit Bear,' is due for release in the Summer of 2013. Jennifer offers two different school presentations for her 'Moose in a Maple Tree' collection, an illustration demonstration and a Christmas concert series, which can be booked at www.amooseinamapletree.com. She will be taking bookings for school readings of 'Spirit Bear' beginning in October 2013.

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