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Tax Break for Bike Share?

Tuesday, April 01, 2014 - 03:41 PM

A man commutes by Citi Bike during the evening commute on 7th Ave in midtown. (Natalie Fertig/WNYC)

Commute to work via bike share? Hold onto your receipts.

New York Senator Charles Schumer is introducing an amendment to a bill that would allow bike share commuters to exclude $20 a month from their income for tax purposes. (Caveat: "if they have an employer-provided Citi Bike membership" — meaning your company considers your bike share membership a commuting expense.)

"Bike share programs are an efficient, healthy, and clean form of mass transportation, and they should be treated the same way under the tax code as we treat car and mass transit commuters," said Schumer in a statement. "It makes no sense for cars, trains, buses, and private bicycles to be covered by this program but not bike shares, and this legislation will fix that."

That jibes with recent data from Citi Bike, which indicates many bike share members in NYC use the system to get to and from work.

Citi Bike's head of marketing, Dani Simons, said Schumer's amendment would boost the program. "We have gotten scores of requests from businesses and individual employees who want to use the commuter benefits program to purchase Citi Bike memberships," she said. "This legislation would make bike share an even more attractive option for commuters."

According to Sen. Schumer's office, the amendment will be debated Thursday.

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Comments [6]

Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

Why should this program be allowed any tax breaks? It's not like any other sharing program gets this such as Zipcar or even gyms, and they to have membership fees. BTW, not everybody is allowed to use the Citi Bikes as they do have weight limits making them exclusive. It's not as if all other commuters get tax breaks for what modes of transportation they take. If the program can't succeed, then let it fail all by itself. Originally, everyone was promised that taxpayer dollars wouldn't be used on this by any means. Let's not forget that the person who was running this program did resign recently, which really shows how bad it was.

Apr. 03 2014 02:04 PM
oinonio

Do walkers never get a break? I guess if no one else benefits in a fiduciary manner it doesn't count?

Apr. 02 2014 10:47 PM
ksw

this gormless asshole, while huffing along a city street, without a helmet, will cost me around 80$ in a city ambulance & public hospital.
some people are really--socially responsible--, better drowned at birth.

Apr. 02 2014 05:37 PM
Tyson White from New York, NY

I will go ahead and charge my CitiBike membership renewal this year to my Mass Transit account and see what happens. If they reject it, I will haul them off from court to court until the Supreme Court.

Apr. 02 2014 04:11 PM
AMHess from Harlem

Good question, although I think gov't should be incentivizing clean/efficient transportation options, rather than commuting in general.

Apr. 02 2014 12:08 PM
Ian Turner from Manhattan

Ay-ay-ay, can't we just get rid of all the commuter benefits, including parking? Trying to identify each possible way of commuting and then establishing benefits one by one just seems dumb and painful.

Apr. 02 2014 09:26 AM

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