Bixi Bankruptcy Delays Bay Area Bike Share Expansion Until Fall at Best

Photo: Chandler/Twitter

The expansion of Bay Area Bike Share into the Mission, the Castro, Hayes Valley, and Mission Bay planned for early this year won’t happen until fall at the soonest, due to the recent bankruptcy of Bixi, the company that supplies hardware and software for several American bike-share systems.

Heath Maddox, the SFMTA’s bike-share program manager, broke the news to an SF County Transportation Authority Board committee this week. He said the expansion would come in the fall “if everything went very well.”

“Our main technology and software provider is actually for sale,” said Maddox. “We should know what becomes of that sale later this month. Hopefully, it’ll be bought by our current operations and maintenance provider [Alta Bicycle Share], and they could just move, without a hitch, and once again fire up production.”

Maddox said after the sale and re-organization is completed, “it takes five to six months to produce the equipment once it’s ordered.”

In response, Supervisor John Avalos, the SFCTA Chair, said the expansion was supposed to have happened “yesterday,” and asked Maddox to “meet offline to talk more about it.”

The discussion took place after a presentation on the SFCTA’s “Strategic Analysis Report” on Bay Area Bike Share, which provided recommendations to guide the system’s expansion. One of those recommendations is to re-structure BABS’ administration to allow the SFMTA more independence to facilitate a swift expansion within San Francisco, which sees 90 percent of the system’s ridership.

The latest delay is one of too many to count for bike-share in SF. San Franciscans’ appetite for bike-share was first whetted in 2009, when even a tiny pilot of 50 bikes was dropped after Clear Channel backed out of a partnership with the city. Bay Area Bike Share was first promised in summer 2012 (though it didn’t have a name until May 2013), and was supposed to include 500 bikes and 50 stations in San Francisco, with the other half of the system in four cities along the Peninsula.

But only 35 of SF’s stations were put on the ground (and another 35 on the Peninsula), when the initial cost estimates proved to be too optimistic. The other 15 stations were promised within a few months. Now those stations (plus two more) will be coming in the fall, at the earliest.

  • Super lame. Can’t we crowdfund the manufacture of more bikes or something?

  • Jamison Wieser

    I’ll be right behind @MrEricSir:disqus with a donation to a crowdfunding campaign. Non-members can always make a donation by joining and not using it.

    Seriously though, how much would a bike station cost if we wanted to crowdfund it? If we wanted to pay for the station, bikes, and X years of operations and maintenance, what would the price be?

  • MoistPup

    Each bike apparently costs $1200 * 20 at a station is $24k, plus the cost of the station itself…

  • Even better: Just switch to the supplier (bcycle) that actually knows what theyre doing

  • Jamison Wieser

    Well that places a bike station in the same range as a parklet and those are being regularly funded by small business sponsors and kickstarter campaigns.

    That could also be in the price range for community benefit districts.

  • sebra leaves

    When did the SFMTA decide it has the right to compete against all the private industries it regulates? Why is the agency setting up bureaucratic spinoffs that employ non-profits, to set up high tech alternatives to established businesses such as bike rental shops?

    You should promote the private bike rentals companies that have been here for decades instead of competing with them, and complaining about the flaws in the bankrupt high tech international system you prefer. This is one of many projects that sucks the lifeblood out of the community.

    This is what the CEQA appeal on the tech bus decision is referring to when they claim displacement is a relative, substantial effective of the tech buses that must be examined as part of the CEQA review. In this case the issue is displacement of jobs.

    Private bike rental shops cost the city nothing, provide incomes for people in the city who run them, maintain the bikes, insure the bikes, and contribute to the local economy. When the bike rental demand at those rental stores goes up they will purchase more bikes to rent. Drop your high tech expectations and promote a local bike rental system that works.

  • coolbabybookworm

    How dense are you? Bike share is different from bike rental.

    I’m going to ride bike share to a meeting this afternoon, I couldn’t rent a bike to do that. A visitor can rent a bike to explore the embarcadero and Presidio, they couldn’t use bike share to do that.

  • murphstahoe

    Absurd. An easy metaphor is that MUNI should be disbanded because it competes with AVIS.

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