NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The ValleyBike Share program bike racks will remain empty until a new vendor is found to provide rental bikes throughout several towns in western Massachusetts, after the previous vendor filed for bankruptcy.
According to the city of Northampton, the previous vendor, Bewegen Inc., can no longer provide rental bikes to ValleyBike Share due to filing for bankruptcy in Canada, in an effort to dissolve contracts with existing bike-sharing communities. Officials attempted to renegotiate contracts with Bewegen Inc. to try and get bikes back before the summer, but conversations were unsuccessful.
Now, the cities of Northampton, Springfield, West Springfield, Holyoke, Chicopee, Easthampton, South Hadley, Amherst and UMass will need to search for a new vendor to provide rental bikes but it could take some time.
Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra further emphasized: “ValleyBike will be back. We need to find a partner that can reliably provide this important transportation service for Northampton and the coalition communities. By ending this relationship with Bewegen, we can now focus on finding the best operational partner to help us restart the program, and restructure it for long-term success.”
“We know that bike share is a critical component of our transportation system in the Valley for all communities, and we want to ensure that we take steps to guarantee a long and uninterrupted service for our residents,” said Carolyn Misch, Director of Planning & Sustainability. “Participating communities agreed that the best way forward would be to open a competitive procurement process to select a bike share partner with more financial stability and better terms for our communities.”
It is unknown at this time how long it will take to find a new vendor and to get rental bikes back out on the streets.