Will a bikesharing-friendly company buy BIXI?
Public Bicycle System Company, the maker of BIXI systems worldwide was required by the province of Quebec to be sold off in a loan agreement with the City of Montreal. CBC reports that Serco, a large UK-based multinational that operates a whole range of government services from air traffic control to prisons to London's bikeshare system, is interested in purchasing BIXI.
This won't affect the existing systems using BIXI bikes since all but Toronto's are run independently. BIXI Toronto is owned by the international wing so it would likely be also be owned by Serco. Dan Egan of Transportation Services says that this won't affect BIXI Toronto's service since the owner would assume the 10 year contract with the City.
Previously, Alta Bicycle Share had also expressed interest in purchasing BIXI. It's not clear if they're still in the running. Alta operates the bikesharing systems in Washington, Boston and Melbourne. They will also soon operate ones in New York City and Chicago.
Some local Quebec investors are also interested.
If BIXI must be sold, it would be ideal if the new owner was focused on creating extensive and efficient bikesharing systems. Given Alta Bicycle Share's one and only business is bikesharing it seems like their interests would align much better than Serco, which has its fingers in so many different pots.