Divvy supplier files for bankruptcy, but impact on Chicago deemed unlikely

By Jon Hilkevitch
Tribune reporter
5:50 p.m. CST, January 20, 2014

Source: Chicago Tribune

Snowed in A Divvy station in Chicago after a snowstorm in early January. (Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune /January 5, 2014)

Snowed in
A Divvy station in Chicago after a snowstorm in early January. (Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune /January 5, 2014)

The Montreal-based company that supplies the equipment for Chicago’s Divvy bicycle-sharing program filed for bankruptcy Monday, officials said, but there were no immediate indications that the future of the program here is in jeopardy.

The announcement that the Public Bike System Company was seeking bankruptcy protection from creditors, to whom it owes owes millions of dollars, was made by Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre. He said the city of Montreal had taken over the local bike-sharing program there.

The company has provided the more than 3,000 bicycles, equipment for about 300 bike docking stations and computer software for Chicago’s Divvy program, which is managed and operated by Alta Bicycle Share Inc., of Portland, Ore., under a government-funded contract with the city of Chicago.

Plans call for Divvy to expand to about 4,000 bikes and 475 docking stations in 2014, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

Officials from CDOT and the Emanuel administration were not immediately available for comment on the bankruptcy development.

But sources knowledgeable about the Divvy program said they would be surprised if the financial problems at Public Bike System Company, also known as Bixi, led to cuts in the bike-sharing program in Chicago.

jhilkevitch@tribune.com