By Carissa Bluestone
Popular bike-sharing network BIXI is experiencing more shakeups in its home city only several months after Montreal’s government approved a $108 million bailout to cover the company’s deficits. On Friday, CEO Roger Plamondon resigned amid controversy over the deal with the city.
BIXI has an ill-defined, mostly nonprofit status that hampers the way in which the bailout money can be spent. The original agreement earmarked $71 million to help the company expand abroad. But Montreal city charter forbids handouts to commercial entities, so in order to receive the bailout, BIXI has to sell its international operations, which will surely lead to a shortfall this year.
The future of BIXI is unclear, though a spokesperson for the city told the Montreal Gazette, “this changes nothing for Montrealers.” Meanwhile, on BIXI Toronto’s Facebook page, one member issued a rallying cry: “We need to…let our city know that whatever larger challenges Bixi may face, the people of Toronto believe that this is a vital, progressive service that deserves our full support.”
Before you take a BIXI bike for a spin, be sure to check out our explanation of pricing.