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by Mary Soderstrom

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Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Bixi: Shouldn't Be for Profit, Should Be a Public Service

Montreal's famous bike rental system is undergoing a liquidity crisis, it seems.

The program is wildly popular here, and has had success in New York and London, but the financial return hasn't been what was expected.  The province may come up with some short term money to help out until payments roll in (it seems $5 million from New York is on the way) but as Quebec minister for Montreal Jean-François  Lisée says "It's a success in Montreal. It's an international success but we seem not to have been able in the last few years to come up with a business plan that makes this a sound and permanent success in Quebec."
  
As Louise Harel, one of the leaders of a new coalition trying to win November municipal elections says: "The root of the problem is that Bixi was run like a business, but the city is not equipped to run as a business. It is a good corporation and we can be proud of it."

Okay, let's face the fact that the public sector doesn't really know how to run a public service.  It would have been much better if Bixi was started as a  public service, with the idea that it would need public financial support just as the bus and Métro system do. 

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