The Canadian company that makes the bikes that Evanston officials hoped would be used in a bike sharing program here later this year has filed for bankruptcy protection.
The Montreal Gazette first reported the filing by the non-profit Public Bike System Co., or Bixi, which saw heavy investment by the city government there.
It says the company is almost $50 million in debt. Montreal’s mayor told the paper he wants the company to get out of its international business, but continue to keep the bikes rolling in Montreal.
The Divvy bike program in Chicago that Evanston officials hope will expand here — while it gets equipment from Bixi — is operated by a separate firm, Alta Bicycle Share.
Alta has issued a statement saying its systems will continue to operate and that it’s in communication with Bixi and its suppliers to assure it can launch new services this year.
The New York Times reports that when Bixi was launched by a former Montreal mayor, the international sales of system equipment was anticipated to fund the system, but it instead has turned out to be a financial drain.
In Chicago, a Transportation Department spokesman told the Chicago Tribune that the bankruptcy filing wouldn’t affect Divvy’s operations.
Update 11:45 a.m.: City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says he hasn’t learned yet whether the city will get the grant that it had applied for but he doesn’t expect the bankruptcy filing to impact the local program.