BREAKING: Citibank Is Sponsor of NYC Bike Share, "Citibike." [UPDATED w/Pics and Details]

Monday, May 07, 2012 - 11:03 AM

(Photo by Andrea Bernstein)

New York City has found two sponsors to pay for its bike share program, the only large bike share network  in the country to operate entirely without government subsidies.  When fully implemented in the spring of 2013, New York will have 10,000 bikes and 600 stations, the largest bike share system in North America and one of the largest in the world.

Citibank will be the primary sponsor of the "citibike" bike share program, with a $41 million, 5-year contract.  Mastercard will also kick in $6.5 million, and will operate the payment system for the bikes.

"We're getting an entirely new 24/7 transportation network ," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, "We are getting an entirely new transportation network without spending any taxpayer money,"  Bloomberg repeated.  "Who thought that that could be done?"

Bloomberg  himself presided over a bike share announcement for the first time today at a City Hall plaza news conference adorned by sample blue citibikes and a sample docking station.

But today's celebratory announcement was tempered by an acknowledgment that several neighborhoods in the city won't see bike share until 2013.

"It's going to be a phased deployment," Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said at the announcement.   "I mean we can't just airdrop 10,000 bikes in.  So it will be between August and the Spring of 2013 that we will have the full system."

The city's DOT website says  "In 2012, the operating area will include Manhattan south of 59th Street, along with most of Brooklyn north of Bergen Street, and Long Island City in Queens. In the spring of 2013, the system will expand to include parts of the Upper West and East Sides, Cobble Hill, Park Slope, Prospect Heights and Crown Heights."

Sadik-Khan wouldn't say when the decision was made to to delay deployment in most of Brooklyn.

New York City's bike share program will be called citibike (with a new website)
They are the same model as those in other cities with programs also run by the Alta bicycle share company: baskets in the front, built-in lights in front and back with a thick single bar for the frame. Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said the docking stations will be solar powered and wireless, and the program will launch "end of July."

It will cost $95 a year to join the bike share program, $25 for a weekly membership or $9.95 for a 24 membership.  Annual members will get to use the bikes for up to 45 minutes at no charge, which daily members will get to use them for up to 30 minutes for free.

After the that the price scale will escalate sharply upwards, with the bikes becoming increasingly expensive the longer they're used. (For example, if you keep the bike 24 hours, it will cost $150)   Pricing, meant to encourage short-term, one-way hops that keep the bikes in circulation, is consistent with other cities.

The bank sponsorship makes NYC's bike share stock look a lot like London's where a two tone blue coat marks the Barclay's Bike program. NYC's program will be the biggest in the U.S.

(Photo by Andrea Bernstein)


Sample docking station for NYC's Citibike bike share program. (Photo by Andrea Bernstein)

Sample NYC pay station with newly announced sponsorship branding. (Photo by Andrea Bernstein)




Comments [8]

Kmm from Queens

That's great Citi does not have the money for workers so they are laid off but they have money for bikes? That is so wrong.

May. 26 2013 11:22 PM

There seems to be some confusion about the purpose of bikeshare. It is a complement to, not a substitute for, the subway. There are many short trips for which the subway is useless. If I use a bike to run errands, I can save a lot of time where I would normally walk or take a bus. A 20-minute walk or bus ride is a 5-7 minute bike ride. If I'm traveling farther or between boroughs, the subway is clearly the better option.

May. 10 2012 03:58 PM

I find it interesting that we are still not focusing on making the city bike friendly. It is much cheaper on an annual basis to buy an inexpensive bike and ride it around the city. However, we need bike lanes, places to park our bikes that are safe and secure, and buildings that allow us to bring our bikes up elevators and into our offices and apartments. The overall philosophy seems to be very anti bike here in NYC.

May. 09 2012 09:00 PM

If you're going from Van Cortlandt Park to Coney Island, take the subway. Duh. If you're making a lot of quick trips in Brownstone Brooklyn and Manhattan, then bike share is definitely for you.

Taking 45 trips in a year is hardly anything. That's less than one a week. For someone who rides a bike share bike to the subway instead of walking there on their way to work, they may easily save 10-20 minutes a day. Isn't that worth 26 cents a day?

May. 09 2012 11:19 AM

Mike -- It's your math that is wrong. At $9.95 per day, you could take 4 subway rides potentially from Van Cortlandt Park to Coney Island. If your bike trip is longer than 30 minutes, you will incur additional charges. At $95 per year, you would have to take approximately 45 trips less than 45 minutes long before it would be cheaper than the subway. My $104 Metro Card, which I consider way too expensive, buys me 50 - 80 rides on the subway per month.

May. 09 2012 07:51 AM

jimhub: huh? An annual pass to bikeshare is $95. 12 months' worth of Metrocards are well over $1000. If most of your trips are under 45 minutes, bikeshare is way cheaper.

For people who want to rent a bike for a six-hour stretch, they should do so from a private company. That's not the market this is trying to serve: short trips, taken frequently.

May. 08 2012 10:50 AM

from NY magazine:more expensive than similar programs in Washington, D.C., and London, where a six-hour bike-riding day would be much less than New York's $131. For a one-off day trip, the subway is a much better deal, and even a taxi could be more cost-effective. This system only seems worth it for commuting from one place to another relatively quickly. Oh, and a lost bike is $1,000

May. 08 2012 09:11 AM

the pricing is confusing:
$9.95 for a day plus a fee if used more than 30 minutes?
$95/ year plus fees over 45 minutes?
This seems expensive. How about a corporate sponsor for bike parking areas for new yorkers who own bikes?

May. 08 2012 09:02 AM

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