Brooklyn Boro

City says Lyft plans to invest $100 million in Citi Bike expansion

November 30, 2018 By Raanan Geberer Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Citi Bikes are seen docked at a station at Carroll Street on the corner of Columbia Street this past March. NYC plans to triple the number of Citi Bike bicycles and expand the program’s territory by 35 square miles. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

New York City has reached an agreement with Lyft, the new owner of Citi Bike’s parent company, to “dramatically expand” the Citi Bike bike-share program.

Under the agreement, Lyft will invest $100 million to improve the system and double its service area, the Mayor’s Office announced yesterday.

Still, don’t expect an immediate expansion to far-flung areas of the city like Coney Island and Flatlands in Brooklyn or Ozone Park and Bayside in Queens.

A spokesman for Transportation Alternatives, the well-known bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organization, told the Brooklyn Eagle that in response to a question at yesterday’s press conference, city Transportation Commission Polly Trottenberg said that while exact details haven’t worked out, Citi Bike will expand “contiguously,” next to neighborhoods that already have Citi Bike stations.

Currently, Citi Bike in Queens is concentrated in Long Island City and Astoria, with some stations immediately east of those areas. In Brooklyn, Citi Bike stations are found in Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Bushwick, Bed-Stuy west of Malcolm X Boulevard, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights west of Bedford Avenue, Fort Greene, DUMBO, the Navy Yard area, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Gowanus, Boerum Hill, the Columbia Street District, Red Hook and Park Slope north of 14th Street.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, at the press conference, revealed several other details of the expansion:

  •  Citi Bike will triple in size to nearly 40,000 bicycles and expand by 35 square miles over five years.
  • Within 90 days, Lyft will invest to restore the existing system to its required fleet level of 12,000 bikes.
  • The expanded fleet will include both regular and pedal-assist bikes, which are part of the DOT’s L-train tunnel shutdown mitigation plan.
  • Lyft will add 12 new valet stations and increase availability in the busiest areas.
  • The Reduced Fare Bike Share program, which provides discount membership of $5 per month for all NYCHA residents and SNAP recipient, will be expanded.

In general, Brooklyn and Queens elected officials had good words for the Citi Bike expansion.

“I’m truly excited to see Lyft’s incredible investment in expanding our growing Citi Bike programs,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “In addition to the extended commitment to funding low-cost membership for NYCHA residents and SNAP recipients, I hope this results in an extension of our borough’s bike share network through docking stations in new neighborhoods.”

“As an avid biker, I know firsthand the convenience and ease that Citi Bike affords,” said Councilmember Carlos Menchaca (D-Red Hook-Sunset Park). “With this infusion of funding, Lyft will help expand a critical service in light of our city’s ongoing transpiration needs. Moving forward, though, we must ensure bikes are districted equitably.”

State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Long Island City-Astoria-Sunnyside-Woodside) said, “Citi Bike is a valuable resource, and I was proud to play a role in securing its expansion into Astoria and Long Island City.”