TIMELINE: NYC's Uncertain Bike Share Expansion

When Will Citi Bike Come to MY Neighborhood? Read on...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - 04:00 AM

The Citi Bike station on Broadway and 58th Street Color wars: one author dislikes bike share blue. (Kate Hinds)

New York's Citi Bike is already the biggest bike share program in the country, but it was supposed to be bigger by now. A lawsuit between Citi Bike's operator and its insurance company could slow progress further. Throughout the launch process expansion plans and projections have shifted. We compile them here in an interactive timeline. 

The quick version: Although Citi Bike rapidly acquired over 64,000 members since its Memorial Day launch, it has yet to fulfill its original Phase I goal of 7,000 bikes. Among the causes of delay: software problems and Sandy and, well, it's not totally clear. Scroll down. 

And to hear tons of archival audio of officials offering launch dates, click the listen link above. 

Here's the timeline in a separate window. 












Comments [14]

julia willebrand from NYC

The win/lose finance aspect of bike sharing in NY is a great topic for the Comptroller's office to explore. Who is making money Alta Bicycle Share, Citibank or the NYC tax payer?

Oct. 11 2013 02:52 PM

Tmac you are wrong. The 40million was for capital funds to start the program... that's different than operating costs. I see no reason why membership and charges for daily rides - along with the paid advertising (think naming rights for stadiums) can cover it.

Aug. 14 2013 06:43 PM

Gabe - it's viewpoints like yours that prevents my beloved Bronx from moving forward with 21st century life.

Aug. 14 2013 06:19 PM

Citiibike is just one piece of a larger, non-car, transportation puzzle that includes pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders. We should never be talking about Citibike exclusively from the other pieces.

So for me, I want to improve my personal mobility. So my priorities are:

1. Pass some form of congestion pricing to make transit ridership cheaper. It should not be cheaper for a family of 4 to drive into the city from the suburbs or outer boros as opposed to taking the LIRR or MetroNorth.

2. Expand Bus Rapid Transit (Select Bus Service is a 'lite' version) to many more bus routes, like the M60 and all the avenues, and many more neighborhoods that are lacking in subway service.

3. Allow bikes on buses, and put Citibike stations in expanding circles around the BRT and subway stations in the subway-lacking neighborhoods. We're one of the few places in the country with buses lacking bike racks.

4. Time traffic lights for bicycles, not cars. It is a lot harder to stop & start on a bike than in a car.

5. Build more protected bike paths.

6. Put the cops on something worthwhile, like ticketing speeding drivers that are killing the unprotected.

Aug. 14 2013 03:49 PM

Now how about an article on how the NYPD is doing its best to scare Citi Bike users off the streets?

Aug. 14 2013 01:43 PM
TMac from New York

Citibike exists only because Bloomberg twisted Citibank and Goldman Sachs' arm to put up the money. In GS's case it was a Community Reinvestment Act loan, a total perversion of the intent of the program, which was supposed to pump corporate profits into small businesses and homebuyers in financially underserved communities, not to fund a bikeshare business that provides service in a few of the wealthiest zip codes in the US. But Bloomberg and the JSK Jihadists were determined to ram this in before leaving office, by hook or by crook!

Without corporate welfare, the $95/yr subscription fee doesn't even begin to cover expenses, so this isn't a business model that can last. You (the >1% of NYers who've signed up) had better get used to much higher fees if you want this to last. Alta can't keep suing their way into the green.

Aug. 14 2013 01:19 PM
Mike from Manhattan

Thank you to WNYC and Transportation Nation for following this story. WNYC has been virtually my only source of information about Citi Bike because the City and Alta Bike Share simply refuse to answer any questions. A little transparency would go a long way.

I am a supporter of Citi Bike and would love to see it expand to other parts of the City, but for now I think Alta Bike Share needs to focus on fixing the existing problems with the system, especially the failure to rebalance stations. There is also a desperate need for more bikes in the system, with over 69,000 annual members and only 6,000 bikes (more than 11.5 annual members for each bike).

Aug. 13 2013 09:51 PM
Davey from Harlem

Is there anything more to this story than CitiBike is a few months behind schedule because of Hurricane Sandy?

Aug. 13 2013 07:39 PM
TOM from Brooklyn

Alta/Citibike has been built out with borrowed money that must be paid back. Their business plan must demonstrate how that will be done with certainty; otherwise, no further money for expansion, public or private, will be forthcoming.
The current implementation suggests over-saturation of docks at stations(two docks per bike overall)in lower Manhattan. Expansion with an eye to attract more Citibikes into that area must be really thought through. There has been local backlash and re-positioning as a result. Off-street docking(at a further cost) may be needed. The current catchment area for the scheme is ten miles wide(edge-to-edge), and only five miles from the center(LES) out to any edge). Expansion into the outer-boros needs to be seriously examined. Any stations beyond the annual-member forty-five minute time limit(origin-to-destination & back-to-origin) necessitates a time consuming and a not-too-assured switch somewhere en route. Better in those boros that the planned destinations be more convenient to an en route mass-transit hub that might reduce the user's overall commute time. The distances would determined by the individual user's abilities. Of course, away the current Citibike 'center'(really the Lower East Side) will necessitate wider dispersal of docking stations because the density of users will be less(see any prior audit of existing systems). Docks must be at job centers and likely-customer residential centers. Like delivery-trucks Citibikes are meant for the 'last mile', not long-distances. For long-distances buy a bike or a scooter. Many users do. Away from Manhattan will proportionately lessen future assured return-on-investment. I'm sure Alta/Citibike, and, I hope, NYCDOT, have looked at this, as has their financial partners.
If Citibike expands in Manhattan it should be to the universities. This was an oversight in the original roll-out that made no sense. Any expansion into the outer-boros should assume those Citibikes might never go into the Central Business District, but will still prove beneficial to the users, the city, and profitable to Alta/Citibike.
I own a fine bike and love long-distance walking so I'm a disinterested observer.

Aug. 13 2013 10:37 AM
Clarke from NYC

We've already redesigned this "old" (do you say that with a straight face?) city plenty of times, Do you think New Amsterdam was born with multi-ton steel boxes speeding at any person daring to cross the street?

Aug. 13 2013 10:27 AM
MrTransport from NYC


I think you are mis-informed about the majority of CitiBike users. Almost everyone I see uses it to supplement subway and bus service. It also is a convenient option during nights and weekends, when bus and subway frequencies are much less and hoping on a CitiBike can actually gets me to places quickly.

I do agree that a city built for the automobile for the past 50 years needs significant upgrades, new signage and redesign as well as greater public education. I also agree that we need to rethink our transportation options in general (for example, I think brining ferry service back to NY was a very good idea and can be expanded).

I don't see CitiBike as a problem, rather I see it as a positive contribution to what should be a serious overhaul to the regions transportation needs.

Aug. 13 2013 09:46 AM
Joe from New York

What does "this isn't Holland" mean? Do you believe there is some innate cultural reason why biking couldn't be as successful here as it is there? I for one do use the bike share program as a means to get around, not just for recreation. In fact, for transportation purposes I find it better to use bike share than my own personal bike, as I don't have to worry about either locking the bike up or carrying it around at my destination.

Aug. 13 2013 09:45 AM
Matthias from New York, NY

@Gabe - 25,000 daily riders disagree with you.

The city has been redesigned to prioritize motor vehicles over the past 50 years or so. It is time to undo the damage and make this old city more like it used to be. After all, walking and biking on city streets is only dangerous if our streets are badly designed.

Bring CitiBike uptown! It has already proven a huge success and more neighborhoods are clamoring for expansion.

Aug. 13 2013 09:18 AM
Gabe from Bronx

This piece was the biggest waste of air I have ever experienced on WNYC. Honestly, we are not talking about a viable transportation option for New Yorkers (this isn't Holland!) - we are talking about recreation. Who really cares about the timeline and the promise of more bikes? Biking on city streets, for the inexeperienced in particular is dangerous and stupid. We cannot redesign this old city to be something it is not. Let's get corporate support for improvements to real transportation options.

Aug. 13 2013 09:05 AM

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