New ownership for bike shares in NYC
Citi Bike Service to Expand in Brooklyn
New York City’s bike-sharing program is getting new owners who will improve service and double the system’s size within three years, officials announced Tuesday.
An annual membership in the program, Citi Bike, will rise from $95 to $145 but officials said better service will justify the higher costs.
Officials said Citi Bike will grow from 6,000 bikes to 12,000 by the end of 2017 and will expand to new neighborhoods including Park Slope, Harlem and Long Island City, where they gathered for Tuesday’s announcement.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said in a statement, “As an avid Citi Bike rider, I am thrilled to see that bike share will ‘keep on rolling’ in New York City. We cannot underestimate the impact that this initiative has had on multiple facets of our daily life, improving our environment and public health while providing New Yorkers an easy alternative to getting from Point A to Point B.
“The expansion to Bedford-Stuyvesant, Greenpoint and Williamsburg next year will further enhance our borough, as will the upcoming growth in Carroll Gardens, Park Slope, Prospect Heights and Red Hook. Citi Bike is moving in the right direction, pedaling towards progress.”
Officials said the date of the price increase would be announced later.
At least one Citi Bike user said he would probably pay the $149 a year.
“I might reluctantly pay that,” Todd Sentz, 44, said as he picked up a bike in midtown Manhattan. “I definitely get my money’s worth. I use it almost every day.”
“Anyone who uses Citi Bike regularly knows that it should be more reliable, it should be easier to use and it should be accessible to more of the city,” said newly minted bike-share CEO Jay Walder, the former chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. “Citi Bike has the potential to be so much more, and today we are committing to make that potential a reality.”
Citi Bike started in May 2013 and has been plagued by problems such as docking stations not working and bicycles not being available where they are needed.
The system has been managed by a subsidiary of Portland, Oregon-based Alta Bicycle Share, which also operates bike-share systems in Chicago, Boston, Toronto, Washington and other cities.
Under the new agreement, a private investor group headed by Jeff Blau, the CEO of real estate firm Related, is buying Alta Bicycle Share and will move its headquarters to New York City, with Walder in charge.
Walder said he would be meeting with officials in the other cities where Alta runs bike-sharing programs in the coming weeks.
In New York, Citibank will increase its commitment to Citi Bike by $70.5 million and extend it sponsorship through 2024.
“In order to help expand and improve the system, we are significantly increasing our sponsorship in terms of dollars and length,” said Edward Skyler, Citibank’s executive vice president for global public affairs. “It will now go an additional five years and the bikes will stay blue through 2024.”
—Additional information from the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President
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