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ValleyBike program unlikely to operate this summer

An empty ValleyBike docking station in Northampton, Massachusetts, on April 24, 2023.
Alden Bourne
An empty ValleyBike docking station in Northampton, Massachusetts, on April 24, 2023.

Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, and a bike-sharing program serving western Massachusetts is likely to miss the entire season.

ValleyBike started in 2018 and provided electric-assist bicycles in eight western Massachusetts communities including Springfield, Northampton and Holyoke.

But earlier this year, the Canadian company that serviced the bikes and provided the technology to run the system notified the communities it was entering bankruptcy proceedings.

Carolyn Misch, who is the sustainability director for Northampton, said attempts to find a short-term solution were unsuccessful. She said it will take a while to find another provider.

"We have to put the bid package together," Misch said. "We have to put it out for a minimum amount of time, and then we have to review the responses and determine the most appropriate vendor."

She also said the western Massachusetts communities have to figure out how to pay for it.

The Canadian company, Bewegen, did not return requests for comment.

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.

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