After months of negotiations, Alta Bicycle Share, the embattled Oregon-based company that operates Citi Bike through a subsidiary, was sold to REQX Ventures, a real estate company. Due sheerly to the infusion of cash, the deal might save Citi Bike from the systemic issues that have plagued it since its launch.
As Capital New York first reported late Friday afternoon, the deal will double the size of Citi Bike’s fleet, to 12,000, as well as grant leeway for REQX to raise rates. The system has lost millions of dollars over the course of its existence, due to fault software, inconsistent membership renewals, poor planning, and Hurricane Sandy-inflicted damage.
REQX Ventures is a real estate company run by individuals affiliated with The Related Companies, a privately-owned development firm based here in New York City, with a portfolio that includes the Time Warner Center, the Hudson Yards Project, and more. Although it was earlier speculated that REQX would purchase 51 percent of Alta, Capital is reporting that REQX and a subsidiary, Equinox, purchased Alta in its entirety. That means that REQX now controls all of Alta’s bike share programs across the world, which include systems in Chicago, Boston, Seattle, Toronto, Melbourne, and Washington, D.C.
Back in March, we spoke with Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives, about the long-term outlook for Citi Bike. We reached out to him for comment about REQX’s takeover; when he responds, we’ll update this post accordingly.
Follow Phillip Pantuso on Twitter @phillippantuso