Award–winning journalist Andrea Bernstein is the Metro Editor for WNYC News. She has previously served as Political Director, Director of Transportation Nation, and Senior Reporter.
New York city's bike share program is now accepting registrations. The Citi bike website is now adorned with an orange bubble that urges visitors to become "founding members."
The total cost of yearly membership is $103.43 with tax, which puts it just under the cost of a monthly Metrocard. Annual members will be able to check out bikes -- using a special "key" -- from any Citibike station and ride up to 45 minutes with no additional charge before locking the bike up at any other docking station. After that, there will be an escalating series of charges to discourage long-term use. (Related Post: Thousands sign up for NYC bike share in first hours.) Those who sign up are promised a key and an information packet within the week. Riders will have to provide their own helmets, or ride helmet-less. But the first 5000 members will get a $10 discount on helmets. City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan isn't giving an exact launch date, saying only the system will start in "May." Asked what date in May she responded "May."
As TN first reported last week, the city is installing docks from Bedford-Stuyvesant on over. Sadik-Khan says about 55 stations have been installed so far. The system launch will include 6000 bikes at 330 stations in Manhattan south of 59th street and in Dumbo, Downtown Brooklyn, Prospect Heights, Fort Greene, and Bedford-Stuyvesant. (A system map is here.) Bike share was to have started last summer, but was delayed by software glitches. Mayor Bloomberg pushed back the launch to March, but the program was delayed again after storm Sandy flooded docking stations stored at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Officials are still promising "a goal" of 10,000 bikes and 600 stations from the Upper East and Upper West Sides of Manhattan through Park Slope in Brooklyn.