Usain Bolt's bike sharing firm bolts from Richmond
RICHMOND, Calif. - The city of Richmond now has to find a new operator to handle all the electric bikes that were left behind by a bike-sharing company founded by Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt.
"Nobody really knows what happened to Bolt. Obviously, they've ghosted us all," said Richmond Mayor Tom Butt.
'Us all' also includes cities in Virginia, Portland, Oregon and the Vermont cities of Burlington, South Burlington, and Winooski. Bolt also has a presence in St. Augustine, Florida and Durham, North Carolina. The company has not responded to KTVU's request for comment.
The mayor says the program was well liked and well-used in Richmond.
"It's been growing in popularity," Butt said. "People like this. Particularly, we have these bikes all around our transportation hubs."
Butt said he spoke to the company that sold the system to Bolt and it will assist all the cities in getting the system secured and help to set up with a new operator.
"We're left with a lot of bikes and a lot of infrastructure. But. I'm confident we'll get it back together and be back in business," Butt said.
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission funded the project.
"There's no indication that Richmond has fumbled the ball in any way," MTC spokesman John Goodwin said.
Goodwin said that Richmond received one of three grants made to local governments to support bike sharing including ones in the North Bay and the East Bay.
"This group, comprised of Sonoma and Marin counties, also contracted with Bolt, but that operation had not begun and that no payments had been made from that grant," said Goodwin.
The City of Fremont, the third grantee, contracted with Hopr which continues to run the bike share program there.