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1.6 million NYC SNAP recipients can now get low-cost Citi Bike rides

July 26, 2018 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Another 1.6 million people are now eligible for low-cost Citi Bike memberships, now that New York City has expanded the program to SNAP (food stamp) recipients. Shown: Citi Bikes in Brooklyn Heights.  Eagle photo by Mary Frost

In time for L-train shutdown

New York City officials took a bicycle ride to Bedford-Stuyvesant last week to announce that SNAP (food stamps) recipients are now eligible to ride Citi Bikes for just $5 a month.

Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said the discount “helps to address Mayor [Bill] de Blasio’s goals for a more equitable city.”

There are roughly 1.6 million New York City residents receiving SNAP benefits. (NYCH residents are also eligible for the perk.)

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Trottenberg were among those taking the ride to the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation on Fulton Street to make the announcement.

Adams called the discount for SNAP recipients a “true game changer.”

“Too many people of color and low-income residents walk past healthy alternatives because they think it’s not for them,” Adams, a former diabetes sufferer who turned his health around through diet and exercise, said in a release.

Assemblymember Walter Mosley (D-Clinton Hill, Bedford-Stuyvesant) said he was thrilled with the low-cost memberships. “The change in the program will allow low-income families to live and enjoy a healthier lifestyle.”

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez said the membership plan was coming just in time for upcoming 15-month L-train shutdown.

“As our city prepares for L train service interruptions, expanding affordable cycling options will provide badly needed, additional options for commuters,” she said.

Citi Bike docks are scattered throughout Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. SNAP recipients will be also be able to use a new form of bike share in Coney Island, where Citi Bike plans to begin a pilot of dockless bikes later this year.

Regular Citi Bike memberships require an annual commitment and cost $14.95 a month, according to the Citi Bike website. (Or riders can opt to pay $169 a year up front.) The new SNAP memberships do not require an annual commitment, and members are only charged during the months they ride.

The Citi Bike system recently broke its single-day ridership record on June 26 with 80,624 ride.

Citi Bike Perks Not Just for the Disadvantaged

Low-income residents aren’t the only New Yorker to get a break when renting Citi Bikes.

Corporate memberships also cost riders just $5 per month. Employees of companies like BerlinRosen, Bloomberg, Brooklyn Brewery, Industry City and Calvin Klein are eligible for the low-cost membership.

Groups like the Billion Oyster Project, Art for Film and Bre & Co., headquartered at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, can get an even lower rate — $49 a year. And some organizations, such as Interfaith Medical Center, Pratt Area Community Council and Cockroach Labs (a technology company) subsidize memberships for their employees, who get to ride for free.

Riders still have to mind how long they ride any one bike. Regardless of the cost of the membership, trips longer than 45 minutes cost $2.50 for each additional minute.

The new SNAP discount program was presented by Healthfirst, the largest not-for-profit health insurance plan in New York City. To apply for this discount, SNAP recipients should visit the Citi Bike website at citibikenyc.com and enter their EBT card number or NYCHA tenant ID.

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