Bike Sharing Rolls On-Through Rain, Sleet And Financial Woe.-Thanks To Bruno?

Before NYC got it’s bike share program there was a lot of speculation about whether it was going to succeed. Most of the doubt centered around the winter months when I heard a lot of: “There is no way it’s going to be year round. They’ll have to take all the bikes in and those stations are just going to get wiped out by the snow plows.” Now that Citibike is entering it’s second winter it looks like the answer for the bike share program to big bad winter is to…just keep on riding. Yes, year round.

Now we all know the bike share program had some financial difficulties and needed a big bail out, which is ironic because it was kicked off by a banking institution (Citigroup) that needed a “too big to fail” massive tax payer bail out. The banking giant only committed to starting funds in exchange for some key advertising, but it would be up to the private companies to keep the program running.

A millionaire, world adventure, environmentalist, furniture mogul from Canada has come to the rescue. Bruno Rodi was inspired by seeing first hand the planet in crisis and decided to buy a failing company who has provided bike sharing to a number of major cities around the globe. He hired a new tech staff to fix the software and has taken a very hands on approach, working directly with the host cities as well as seeking new markets.

Here is more of the story from a recent article in the New York Times:

An Uphill Push to Save a Bike-Share Pioneer
by: Ian Austen
January 9th, 2015

IMG_0132.JPG (Montreal’s bike-sharing system, considered one of the most innovative, ended up costing the city $25 million. Photo By: Graham Hughes/New York Times)

The typical origin story for a tech company includes a paper napkin and a garage. But the company that powers the bike-sharing programs in New York, London, Chicago and a dozen other cities started much differently: It began with a municipal parking authority, wound through bankruptcy court and got another shot at corporate viability off the Madagascar coast during the annual hatching of the green sea turtles.

Observing that ritual last year with a group of scientists, Bruno Rodi, a Canadian real estate developer, saw firsthand how those endangered reptiles are threatened by climate change, pollution and hunters. “When you go in extreme areas on the planet, you can vividly see that we’re really destroying the planet,” Mr. Rodi recalled. A globe-trotting adventurer, he has climbed the highest mountain on every continent, visited the North and South Poles and rowed more than 5,000 miles across the Indian Ocean. “I started to get conscious about this,” he said.

For more, ride over here.

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