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Vancouver waiting for 'assurances' before moving ahead with bike share

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Serious questions are being raised over when Vancouver’s much vaunted bike share program will actually get off the ground.

The city says it still doesn’t have the assurances it’s seeking from the company that will be providing the service.

Alta, based out of Portland, was granted the contract over a year ago, but it’s a company that’s been having financial and operational problems.

An investment firm is in talks with the city of New York to buy up half the company. The city’s mayor admits the bike-share program is in serious financial situation.

In Melbourne, Australia, the city is looking to replace Alta’s partnership with a local company. It wants another private operator which won’t need subsidies.

Vancouver transportation director Jerry Dobrovolny says the company has yet to demonstrate it has a business model, that it has secured financing, and that it has sponsorship funding.

“The company hasn’t been able to provide assurances. Until they do, we are not prepared to move forward with the contract. Unlike other cities that have accepted risk, the city of Vancouver is not willing to accept those risks,” says Dobrovolny.

He believes the company can still meet the city’s terms.

“It has been very successful in implementing programs across North America, so it has been busy. We also know it has been going through restructuring.”

The service was originally supposed to be rolled out this year. The city is still hoping to see it start up some time next year.