Many Chicagoans probably know of Divvy, the bike-sharing program, especially those who are inclined to pedal to work rather than drive. Divvy launched just last year, according to Wikipedia, and makes thousands of bikes available to riders around the clock.
Divvy is on track (or was) to become the biggest bike-sharing program in North America, according to Fran Spielman’s report for the Chicago Sun-Times. With a planned 2014/2015 expansion, Divvy would be bigger than NYC’s bike-sharing program.
But Divvy’s supplier, the Public Bike System Company, a.k.a. Bixi, has recently filed for bankruptcy protection in Montreal, where Bixi is headquartered. And: “Monday’s bankruptcy filing,” wrote Spielman, “[…] calls the expansion into question.”
This is because Bixi supplies all the modular components necessary for Divvy’s operations, including the bike dock and locking system. According to Spielman, Chicago and NYC owe $5.6M to Bixi. This is money the two cities have withheld because of apparent problems with Bixi’s technology.
For Chicagoans who have grown accustomed to using Divvy, hope isn’t lost. Chicago officials have said that Divvy will continue to operate as normal, despite Bixi’s bankruptcy. Although based on Spielman’s report, it’s not clear whether Divvy will be able to expand in 2015.