Columbus Bike Share Supplier Files For Bankruptcy - WCMH: News, Weather, and Sports for Columbus, Ohio

Columbus Bike Share Supplier Files For Bankruptcy

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -

Bikes meant to get you from point a to point b for a small fee, sit dormant in the frigid downtown air after the company that supplies the bicycles and docking stations for Columbus' bike sharing service has filed for bankruptcy.

According to officials, the company, Bixi, has nearly $50 million in debt.

But could the bikes be parked permanently and the CoGo program shut down due to the bankruptcy?

It's a question NBC4's Candice Lee took to City of Columbus Recreation and Parks Director Alan Mcknight.

"I don't think the user today will see any difference at all. Our contract is actually with Alta who acquired the bikes for the city and manages the system. We have talked to Alta, they are following the situation," said McKnight.

Columbus has $2.3 million, five-year contract with Alta Bicycle Share.

McKnight said that in the months since CoGo launched, they've experienced no issues with the software program and the city owns all the bikes outright.

So far 70 percent of CoGo customers are day-pass users.

The city has sold 800 annual memberships.

Revenue, including advertising by partner businesses, amounts to $135,000 -- well within the first-year projections.

But if the program struggles, will city leaders bail it out with taxpayer funds?

McKnight said he hopes to avoid that by finding a long-term presenting sponsor who would provide 50 percent of all revenue.  It's a task Alta Bike Share is contractually obligated to obtain.

"We all know the system doesn't survive solely on the fee that the riders pay," McKnight said. "They are working on it and some programs to do that. And we are assisting and helping to talk about the value of the system as we go through that. So we don't believe it's going to be necessary."

Of course, with the extreme winter weather so far this year, the bikes aren't getting quite the workout. However, on January 6, when wind chills reached into the minus 30 to 40 degrees, one bike was rented that day.

The folks at the Recreation and Parks Department said they hope the program is as durable as the brave soul who chose to take one of bikes for a spin on that frigid day.

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