Friday, March 21, 2014
By Kate Hinds
Spring has arrived — and with it, the high season for New York City's bike share program. With nearly 100,000 annual members, its popularity has exceeded estimates. But the program is still in a financial hole.
Thursday, April 04, 2013
By Kate Hinds
New Yorkers, meet your Citi Bike station locations. Even more closely placed than your neighborhood Starbucks. Beginning next month, you'll be able to pick up and drop off bikes from Central Park South to Barclays Center. Annual members will get 45 minutes of free riding, daily members 30 minutes.
The New York City Department of Transportation has released an interactive map showing the draft locations of 293 stations located across Manhattan (below Central Park) and across a swath of Brooklyn through Fort Greene. (That 293 is down a bit from last year's projected launch of 420 stations.) Gray dots show the location of future docking stations. The DOT's website says it will "continue to work with New Yorkers to refine these station locations."
To see detailed maps of stations at the community level, click here.
Monday, March 25, 2013
Bike share is rolling into the Bay Area this summer.
In August, Alta Bicycle Share will launch 700 bikes at 70 stations. Half the bikes will be in San Francisco; the rest will be distributed throughout Palo Alto, San Jose, Redwood City, and Mountain View. The project is being led by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (known as the Air District), along with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and other local transit agencies.
Aaron Richardson, a spokesperson for the Air District, said Bay Area residents should expect to see the number of bikes increase quickly.
“We will be growing, this is the initial amount in the pilot,” he said. “We’re actively searching for more funding and sponsorships.” The pilot will cost $7 million. The Air District's website calls for an additional 250 bikes to roll out in the months following the program's launch.
Alta Bicycle Share already runs Boston’s Hubway, Washington DC’s Capital Bikeshare, and other programs in Chattanooga and Melbourne, Australia. The company also has the contract for New York's incipient program. Both Hubway and Capital Bikeshare have proven popular, with Capital Bikeshare logging over three million rides since it was launched in 2010.
Kristin Smith is the communications director for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, which has been a big supporter of the the project. She said the Coalition was hoping for more bikes to jumpstart the program. She noted that Washington DC started a bike share program with moderate success in 2008, but when the city joined forces with Arlington County, VA in 2010 and dramatically increased the size of its fleet, Capital Bikeshare really took off.
“That’s a thing to think about,” she said, “not starting too small.” But “we are very excited about bike share. It works all over the world, and it will work in San Francisco.”
Friday, December 14, 2012
(Rob Manning -- Portland, OR, OPB) Portland's city council approved bike share -- but funding it is largely the responsibility of hometown operator Alta.
The one-year projected cost to set up and run the 750-bike, 75 station bike share program is $6.5 million dollars. Of that, $1.8 million is federal money awarded through the city.
Filling that gap – and finding sponsorship revenue into the future – is up to the contractor, Alta Bicycle Share.
The company’s head, Mia Birk, says that’s like the contract her company has with New York City, but it’s different from agreements with other cities.
Birk says she is excited to start bike-sharing in her hometown of Portland. "But it is a big responsibility on us, and that’s going to be a challenge. Portland is not the same as New York City, does not have the deep-pocket companies and the media value that New York has with the density of population and activities. So I see it as a challenge – I like challenges, I’m excited about it – but I’m also cautious."
To read the whole story, head over to OPB.
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
(Armando Trull - Washington, D.C., WAMU) A lack of parts is putting the brakes on the expansion of the Capital Bikeshare program in the District, according to a District Department of Transportation official.
Existing plans to add 54 bike share stations this fall will likely come up short, department spokesman John Lisle told The Washington Post, because they have not been able to get all the needed equipment from a supplier.
The system, launched in 2010 in the District, Arlington and Alexandria, has about 175 stations. It has struggled to keep up with demand at times.
The expansion delay has also raised questions about whether supplier Alta Bicycle Share can keep up with growing demand from cities for bike share programs. New York City's bike share program, which will also be operated by Alta, has been delayed due to software problems, as has Chicago's program. Meanwhile, Alta picked up another big contract earlier this year: it will be the vendor for Portland's bike share. And in the D.C. region, Maryland's Montgomery County unanimously approved measures to expand bike share, most of which is expected to integrate with Capital Bikeshare.
Friday, August 17, 2012
(UPDATED 9:55am) There will be no shiny blue Citi Bikes on the streets of New York until March.
"Unfortunately there are software issues" said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg Friday on his radio show on WOR with John Gambling. The mayor said: "One of the newspapers keeps writing, 'you're hiding something.' Yeah, well, nothing. The software doesn't work. Duh. Until it works, we're not going to put it out until it does work."
"We did think there would be a possibility of a partial launch but at this point --
At which point, Gambling interjected: "Next year?"
"The spring," Mayor Bloomberg responded. "Hopefully the software will work by then. We want to make sure that it works. Washington and Boston are pretty good tests." The Mayor added that "mother nature" makes winter a poor time to launch a system.
A press release from the NYC Department of Transportation (full text below) sent out shortly after the Mayor's radio statement clarified the launch date will be "March" for phase 1 of the program, which will include 7,000 bikes at 420 stations. The statement did not specify what neighborhoods, or with what pace the bikes would be deployed.
Chicago also delayed its launch until spring, and before its own system went live, Boston delayed so as not to have the system get going just as a cold, northeast winter was getting under way. Bike share relies on physical activity, and streets clear of snow and ice.
The New York bike share program was to have launched July 31. But that day came and went with city officials tight-lipped about why. Mayor Bloomberg only said the problem had to do with software issues.
"It really is very advanced technology," the Mayor said Friday. "Each station is like a dock, each place you stick in a bike is a computer, and everything runs on solar power so you don't need a lot of wiring and there's no burden on the electrical system. There's an enormous number of transactions you have to communicate in real time to central computers."
With 10,000 bikes at full roll-out New York's system will be, by several orders of magnitude, the largest system in U.S., and the largest in North America. The next largest U.S. system is in Washington, with about 2,000 bikes.
Even before Friday's announcement, there were indications that the initial, breathless announcements may have been overly optimistic. When it named its sponsor, the city let it slip out that launching the system would take 13 months, and that neighborhoods like Park Slope and the Upper West Side wouldn't get bike share until 2013.
That turned out to be because finding a sponsor took so much longer than anticipated, and because of that the vendor who is supplying New York with its bikes, Alta Bicycle Share, didn't have any money in hand to order bikes until months later than planned.
Alta is also preparing large bike shares for San Francisco and Chicago. The Chicago system, set to be 4,000 bikes, is similarly delayed, and the losing vendor in that city has sued, saying the Chicago transportation commissioner, Gabe Klein, had an inappropriate consulting relationship with Alta. A Klein spokesman says there's nothing untoward and that Klein recused himself from Chicago's selection.
Alta is the only vendor in the U.S. who has undertaken large-scale bike share systems, running both the Washington, DC and Boston networks. Those programs are widely deemed to be successful, and both are expanding. They both use a previous version of software, made by a different vendor, than newer Alta bike share systems. Boston's launch was also delayed by several months when it opened with 600 bikes in Summer 2011.
On Thursday, at an unrelated press conference in Coney Island, Brooklyn, the mayor said: “We’re trying to figure out when we can put a date that we’re sure or reasonably sure that it will work."
He said the reason for New York's delay is straightforward. “Look,” he said, “everybody wants to say there’s a secret agenda here. The software doesn’t work. And putting it out when the software doesn’t work, it wouldn’t work. Period.”
He wet on: “The fascinating thing is those people who screamed they didn’t want bicycles are now screaming ‘where are they?’. So I guess we’ve come a long way and [are] going in the right direction. Nobody would put it out quicker than me.”
On Friday, cycling advocates praised the Mayor's edition. " “While we are eager for Citi Bike to begin, it’s more crucial that this ground-breaking transit system be launched correctly, not quickly, " said Paul Steely White, the Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives.
"New York’s public bike share program will not only be the largest bike share system in the Western Hemisphere, it will also be the city’s first brand-new, full-scale form of public transit since the subway’s debut more than 100 years ago—this is not a moment to rush. When bike share launches in 2013, it will transform New York City by giving New Yorkers unprecedented convenience and freedom of mobility. In time, the circumstances of Citi Bike’s launch will be all but forgotten and we’ll all be enjoying a city made safer, healthier and less congested," Steely White added.
The contract inked between Alta Bicycle Share and New York City last September, which Transportation Nation has obtained, stipulated the company was to have least 1,000 bikes on the street on or before July 31.
Thereafter, Alta was supposed to have added at least 75 stations per ten business days, building to 7,000 bikes by September 30.
The announcement came on a summer Friday, typical a time politicians use to announce news they hope will garner little attention.
Bloomberg said Thursday there were no penalties for a delay.
“It’s all private money. And the people who’ve put up the money, particularly the two big sponsors, Citibank and MasterCard, are fully aware of what’s going on and they have been as supportive as you possibly can be. The city loses because we don’t have bicycles, but the city doesn’t lose any money or anything, and we all want to get it done as quickly — but you’ve got to do it right.”
The city’s Department of Transportation and Alta -- which is contractually not allowed to speak without prior DOT approval -- had been ciphers on the delay. Even Citi Bike’s official twitter account has been dark for a week.
But on Friday, the city issued DOT its longest statement in months on bike share.
The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), bike share operator New York City Bike Share (NYCBS) today announced that the Citi Bike system will launch in March 2013 with an initial phase of 7,000 bikes implemented at 420 stations. The timeline, agreed to by all parties, does not affect the Citi Bike sponsorship structure, which uses $41 million in private funding from Citi to underwrite the system for five years and ensures that NYCBS will split profits with the City.
“New York City demands a world-class bike share system, and we need to ensure that Citi Bike launches as flawlessly as New Yorkers expect on Day One,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “The enthusiasm for this program continues to grow and we look forward to bringing this affordable new transportation option to New Yorkers without cost to taxpayers.”
“NYCBS continues to be committed to bringing the largest and best solar-powered bike share system in the world to New York City,” said Alison Cohen, President. “We recognize that New Yorkers are eagerly anticipating the launch of the bike share system and we will deliver on that promise.”
NYCBS continues work to conclude manufacture and testing of the high-performance software necessary to operate the new system, which is being tailored for New York City. The system uses new solar power arrays and circuit boards, and engineers will continue to thoroughly test data communications, power management and payment systems to ensure overall system performance. Following the March launch, work will continue to expand the system to 10,000 bikes, covering parts of Manhattan and from Long Island City to parts of Brooklyn.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
By Kate Hinds
[The Mayor said on Friday the system won't launch until next spring. Here's our post on it.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg isn't putting a date on when New York's delayed bike share program will be up and running. The program was to have launched July 31, but that date came and went. The mayor has attributed the delay to unspecified software issues.
"We're trying to figure out when we can put a date that we're sure or reasonably sure that it will work," Bloomberg said Thursday. He also said, without explanation, the city is "getting very close."
Bloomberg was speaking at a press conference trumpeting the new shark exhibit at the New York Aquarium.
New York's bike share, at 10,000 bikes, is by far the largest planned bike share anywhere in North America. The next largest system is in Washington, which is about a fifth that size.
An ambitious bike share program in Chicago has also been delayed, and a vendor who lost the bid has sued, saying that city's transportation commissioner, Gabe Klein, had a conflict because he was a consultant on Alta's bid to New York City. A spokesman for the Chicago mayor has said Klein recused himself from the Chicago negotiations and that the suit is baseless.
Alta is also the vendor for Boston's "Hubway" bike share. That program was also delayed by several months, though officials there declare the system a success and are expanding it.
On Thursday, Bloomberg said the reason for the delay is straightforward. "Look," he said. "Everybody wants to say there's a secret agenda here. The software doesn't work. And putting it out when the software doesn't work, it wouldn't work. Period. And so we're trying to figure out when we can put a date that we're sure or reasonably sure that it will work. And we're trying."
"Everybody - a lot - the fascinating thing is those people who screamed they didn't want bicycles are now screaming 'where are they' so I guess we've come a long way and [are] going in the right direction. Nobody would put it out quicker than me."
Alta Bicycle Share, the company picked by New York City last September to run its program, was supposed to have had at least 1,000 bikes on the street on or before July 31, according to its contract with the city, which Transportation Nation has obtained.
Thereafter, Alta was supposed to have added at least 75 stations per ten business days, building to 7,000 bikes by September 30.
Bloomberg said Thursday there were no penalties for a delay.
"It's all private money. And the people who've put up the money, particularly the two big sponsors, Citibank and MasterCard, are fully aware of what's going on and they have been as supportive as you possibly can be. The city loses because we don't have bicycles, but the city doesn't lose any money or anything, and we all want to get it done as quickly -- but you've got to do it right."
The city's Department of Transportation and Alta have been ciphers on the delay. Even Citi Bike's official twitter account has been dark for a week.
Monday, May 07, 2012
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.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Alta does it again. If the Board of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District votes as recommended, Alta will get a $6 million contract to run San Francisco's regional bike share, adding to its recent acquisitions in New York, Chicago, Boston, and Washington.
The San Francisco program plans for 500 bikes in SF, with another 500 in the Silicon Valley cities of Palo Alto, San Jose, Mountain View, and Redwood city.
Like Chicago and New York, San Francisco is racing to get its system up and running by this summer.
According to a memo circulated by Jack Broadbent, the group's executive officer:
"Alta was the highest ranked bidder in each of the criteria areas with the exception of cost. Alta has extensive experience in the management and deployment of bicycle sharing systems domestically and internationally. Alta has previously deployed and currently operates bicycle sharing systems in several cities including Montréal (Canada), Washington, D.C. and Boston; and has been chosen to deploy and operate additional bicycle sharing systems in New York City and Chicago.
"Their methodology and approach to the Bay Area deployment leverages these past experiences and was determined by the Panel to be best approach to successfully completing the pilot project."
The New York program doesn't pay any money at all to Alta, instead relying on sponsorships to raise the money to pay for the program. New York has yet to announce the sponsorship for its bike share, but that announcement is expected to come soon.
Hat tip: Streetsblog SF.
TN MOVING STORIES: Compromise Spending Bill Shaping Up, A Look at New York's Future Bike Share, and London's "Tour du Danger"
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
By Kate Hinds
Top stories on TN:
In the city that never sleeps, the subway will. (Link)
The structural integrity of California's Bay Bridge is in question. (Link)
Faster buses come to 34th Street -- but BRT, it ain't. (Link)
NY's new MTA chief sends warm signals to the transit workers union. (Link)
A compromise spending bill that funds the DOT through fiscal 2012 -- and preserves Amtrak -- is shaping up on the Hill. (Politico)
NPR profiles Alta, the company that won NYC's bike share contract, and says the city is poised to become a bike share Mecca.
A new electric truck assembly plant is moving into the Bronx. (Crain's New York)
Montreal's bike share program shuts down for the season today. (CBC)
There's a rise in the number of pedestrian deaths on Missouri roads. (KSPR)
The European financial crisis is affecting the rental car industry. (Marketplace)
Do New York's alternate side parking regulations bring peace and celebrate diversity? (New York Times)
New York State is hiring a financial consultant to figure out how to come up $5.2 billion to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge. (Times Herald-Record)
NY Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was injured in a bike accident. (Capital New York)
Hundreds of London cyclists participated in the "Tour du Danger," a tour of the city's 10 most dangerous intersections. (Guardian)
Jalopnik readers come up with what they call the ten cleverest ways to get drivers to slow down. A strategically-parked empty Crown Vic? Solar-powered fake cop lights? Holographic children? It's in there.
Friday, September 16, 2011
If you are excited to learn more about bike share in New York you have five chances in the next two weeks to meet representatives from Alta, the company behind the plan, and test out a bike share bike.
As we've been reporting, New York City is set to launch the nation's largest bike share program next summer, it's likely to look a lot like Washington, D.C.'s Capital Bike Share program, also managed by Alta.
Possibly a sign of the initial target audience for the plan, three of the five events will be held in Brooklyn. The city's crowdsourced map of suggested bike share station locations is, as would be expected, most densely populated with pleas for spots in Manhattan.
Wednesday September 21, 12:00 – 3:00 p.m. at Bowling Green at the foot of Broadway at Battery Place in Manhattan.
Saturday September 24, 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene, 176 Lafayette Avenue between Clermont and Vanderbilt Avenues.
Thursday September 29, 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m in Union Square.
Sunday October 2 12:00 p.m – 6:00 p.m at the Atlantic Antic festival, at the corner of Atlantic and Nevins.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
NYC announced Wednesday that Alta bicycle share company will run New York City's bike share program to launch next year. Here's an early peak at what it will look like.
The official announcement is underway right now. We posted a few details already (10,000 bikes, $100/year membership fee, planned launch date in 2012) and we'll have a lot more soon.
Keep checking back for updates all day.
Alta is affiliated with Bixi bike share which runs Monrteal's bike share program and Barclay's bikes in London.
The pay station. Membership fees will be $100 per year. The first half hour of a trip will be free.
Expect this kind of bik share station in 600 locations around Manhattan and Brooklyn. They are slated to stretch from 79th street south as far into Brooklyn as Bed-Stuy, Windsor Terrace and Park Slope. Pilot locations will also be tested in the other three boroughs.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
New York City has chosen Alta Bicycle Share, which runs systems in Washington, DC, Boston, and Melbourne, Australia, to run its bike share program, officials say.
With 10,000 bikes, the New York system will be the largest system in the world, save for Paris, with 28,000 bikes, and some systems in China. It will also be the first U.S. city to run without government subsidies. Alta Bicycle Share, which says it will raise a $50 million investment from private sponsors and will assume all the financial risk of running New York's system. It will share any revenue it earns with New York. The city estimates the plan will create 200 jobs.
New York's system will be more far-reaching than some planners had initially envisioned, stretching from Manhattan below 79th street to Bedford-Stuyvesant, with stations in Long Island City, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Fort Greene, Park Slope, downtown Brooklyn, and areas in between.
The system will cost $100 a year to join, and members will be able to use bikes for the first 30 minutes of a trip for free. Alta hasn't said how much bikes will cost after that, but in Washington, users pay $1.50 for 30-60 minutes, $3.00 for up to 90 minutes, and $6.00 for every 90 minutes after that. There will also be daily and short-term memberships available.
In Washington, some 70,000 casual or daily members had signed up as of July, compared to about 15,000 annual users. (Excellent website with DC data here.)
In a time when most transit systems are facing big cuts, NYC transportation chief Janette Sadik-Khan says bike share will fill in the gaps. "There are times when you can't find a cab, or you can't find the bus, or the subway is not going to work. So it's perfect for those short trips from point A to point B." The NYC DOT says 54 percent of all trips by New Yorkers are under two miles.
The location of bike docking stations is yet to be worked out, but Sadik-Khan promises the DOT -- which has been subject to searing scrutiny for not seeking enough community input on bicycling issues -- will get input from communities. Sadik-Khan says locations could include plazas, edges of parks, and parking garages.
The city did not mention sidewalks or car parking spaces, both both have been used in other cities.
"The adage with bike share is go big or go home," said Transportation Alternatives Paul Steely White. "You really need to reach a critical level of station coverage and saturation so that it becomes an easy transport option. It doesn't work if the station's aren't three blocks or closer."
The city has launched a website to solicit suggestions for bike share stations; it's already of sea of flags.
Alison Cohen, President of Alta Bike Share, is moving to New York to shepherd what will no doubt be a furious year for the company. "There are two things New Yorkers love to talk about, real estate, and how to get from point A to point B."
"Boy does she understand us," commented councilmember Gail Brewer of the Upper West Side.
Sadik-Khan says she's not worried about theft, with the exception of Paris' Velib, which had problems early on with its locking system. "That was bike share 1.0," she said.
Nor does Sadik-Khan seemed to be particularly concerned about cyclists breaking traffic laws, referring to her "Don't Be A Jerk" campaign and other outreach efforts. She also noted that bike share users will be encouraged to carry helmets, but none will be available for rental.
Transportation Nation first broke the New York bike share story last November.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Sadik-Khan have taken some heat over their forceful backing of bike lanes, but the Mayor has received a PR boost of late.
See lots of photos here.
Here's the promotional video from the NYC DOT.