Bike Share. The New Corporate Perk.

Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 12:39 PM

Is Citi Bike's color "dazzling?" Color experts at Pantone say yes. (Alex Goldmark)

The bikes aren't even on the street yet, but New York businesses are planning for the launch of bike share later this month.

While some small storekeepers are bemoaning the big gray docking stations because they take up parking spaces for customers or limit delivery space, larger businesses are taking a rosy view of the city's new transit option.

There isn't even an option to buy a corporate membership yet, but that hasn't stopped companies from asking about it. Dani Simons, director of marketing for New York Citi Bike Share, said, “We’ve heard from over 30 businesses already that they would really like to buy Citi Bike as a perk or as a health and wellness benefit for their employees.”

One of those companies is 'Wichcraft, the sandwich shop chain with about 400 employees. Company spokesperson Ellen Kim said her company is seriously considering corporate memberships, possibly for the whole staff, but especially for delivery staff as a way to attract more applicants. "Currently as we hire delivery staff, they must have bikes... so we think [bike share] opens us up to a broader pool of people" who don't need to own their own rides, she said.

Other businesses with multiple locations are looking forward to putting bikes to use on the job. The program allows members to check out a bike at one self-serve kiosk and return it at any other kiosk around the city. It's a new form of public transportation, but it's also a healthy habit, and maybe recreation.

Ashley Cotton, senior vice president of the real estate firm Forest City Ratner, said bike share will make it easier to get back and forth from worksite and head office. "Our construction division is particularly looking forward to biking to the Brooklyn Navy Yard where our modular housing factory is currently under development," she said.

Her firm develops and leases large commercial properties. From that vantage, bike share is a bonus. "When you are locating housing, offices, or shopping destinations you are always thinking about transit, transit, transit. And so, in addition to subways and buses and other types of ways to get around, we think bike share can be a great amenity for our tenants."

Some non-profits are also looking to buy annual memberships for their employees, including the Regional Plan Association.

The first phase of Citi Bike launches on Memorial Day for people who bought annual memberships online in advance. There will be 330 docking stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn and 6,000 bikes. More than 10,000 people have signed up so far.


Comments [3]

Chang from NYC

It sounds all good and rosy. Sorry to spoil all this, but this is all possible only if two constraints of Manhattan(not "NYC") are solved.
1> Limited space of Manhattan Island business district: Corporation membership for workers traveling vertical in elevators in skyscrapers. Looking down from elevated floor, isn't it ironic to think there are space for all on limited ground surface? Every sq ft has the price. Only way to accommodate more bikes is bikers free the space by giving up car driving even rental cars. But from my observation of bikers n peds in Manhattan, they don't even have driving experience or license not to mention car ownership. 22% low car ownership in Manhattan due to mass transit and street filled yellow cabs plus other car service. Now without reducing number of cars (survey will prove this, I'm sure), the "NYC" is promoting biking in "NYC" even in the Mid Town with CitiBike docks on 8Ave n 32St between JAF P.O. And MSG + Penn. exasperating congestion all time with cabs and trucks. Because EVERY 4 BIKES WITHOUT DRIVING GIVEN UP ADD ONE MORE CAR CONGESTION WHILE EVERY 4 BIKES WITH DRIVING GIVEN UP FREE 3 CAR SPACE (4-1). And around PA and Lincoln Tunnel, Up 8Ave and Down 9Ave (also alternate from TS). Business delivery can be done with more traffic created next to bike Path. Air quality affects everybody especially business located on ground floor. HEALTHY! for bikers? The city knows harm by second hand smoke? And suit to tobacco company after long term use? It is only healthy with cleaner air in the park, gym or on station bikes at home.
2> Seasonal and weather constraints of NYC: these make bikes as supplemental mode not equal alternative mode. And fixing infra for bike use like bike path, makes inflexible adjustment for car volume increase in winters. And bike path can reduce emergency vehicle response time. City gets revenue from Cars and efficient mobility of optimum number (not speeding) is important for city income and air. But pollution can be mitigated by promoting hybrid, electric and small cars, as well as converting drivers to bikers when it is possible.
~ There is just no ground space for all bikers without freeing up space.

Dec. 17 2013 09:10 PM

It's interesting that some small business owners complain about parking space being taken up by this which would lead to less customers.

I'm thinking, at most 5 car spots are taken. If every car had 4 people, that's 20 people. But that's usually not the case. It's usually 5 people. If a bike share rack has over 20 spots, then there is more traffic at the rack, certainly more than a car parking and usually staying for at least 2 hours or more depending on the parking restrictions.

If these store owners can't do the math, they probably have bigger problems.

May. 17 2013 03:50 PM
cj from nyc

Work sight???? Really, WNYC, where are your copy editors?

May. 16 2013 02:58 PM

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