Montreal needs $37 million in cash, $71 million in loan guarantees to put air in Bixi program’s tires

Montreal city council has been forced to put up $37 million in cash to cover the Bixi bike share program’s deficit and another $71 million in loan guarantees to help Bixi expand to Ottawa and Toronto.

The decision highlights the reason Vancouver’s request for bike share proposals seeks to minimize the city’s financial risk.

But last month’s Bixi launch in Toronto demonstrates the growing popularity of bike share programs, despite the costs. City councillors in that city who supported Mayor Rob Ford’s opposition to bike lanes and streetcar expansion hailed the new Bixi program.

Toronto’s loan guarantee: $4.8 million to Bixi. Nonetheless, councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, one of Ford’s key supporters, not only loves the bike share program, he’s ready to propose a network of separated bike lanes.