It’s official – Citi Bike, New York’s bike-sharing program, plans to double the number of shared bicycles in its fleet to 12,000 and 375 docking stations by 2017 and will increase prices. The system will grow to include more neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn plus stations in Long Island City, marking the first time Queens becomes a Citi Bike borough.
However, the system is raising prices to cover the increase costs of overhauling the bike fleet, the stations and the sometimes balky technology involved in renting a Citi Bike The annual membership fee, now $95, will cost $149 per year. Details of weekly or daily prices were to be announced shortly. The Citi Bike notice to those with annual memberships offers them the chance to renew now at the old price.
The city’s bike-share system went into operation in May 2013. The first phase of the expansion, will take place next year. “The first new bikes and stations will be installed in northern Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Long Island City and further into Bedford-Stuyvesant, all neighborhoods originally planned to be part of Citi Bike’s initial deployment,” said the announcement.
The expansion map released by the program shows docking stations eventually will reach farther north in Manhattan, covering the Upper East Side, the Upper West Side and Harlem. It will also reach farther north in Queens and farther south in Brooklyn.
But that would seem to mean these areas won’t get docking stations until 2016 or 2017. The details of the additional rollout have been left vague. “By the end of 2017,” said Citi Bike’s announcement “we will have 6,000 additional bikes and over 375 new stations.”
As of now the Citi Bike coverage includes Manhattan below 60th Street, downtown Brooklyn as far as Atlantic Avenue and Williamsburg. The docking stations are quite dense in some areas such as along the Broadway protected bike lane in midtown. The announcement to members urged them “to visit the NYCDOT’s ‘Suggest A Station’ siting portal. The same suggestion came at the outset of the New York bike-share rollout several years ago.
As widely reported on blogs and on various New York newspaper websites, the new operator of the system will be REQX Ventures, which is “made up of partners at Related Companies, the real estate developer, and the gym chain Equinox,” according to The New York Times. (Alta Bicycle Share, the original operator, is widely known to have serious money problems.)
The new chief of the system will be the former chairman of New York’s subway, bus and commuter rail system, MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) Jay Walder. He has long experience in transit management, most recently as head of subways in Hong Kong.
Former New York Department of Transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan was among the first to applaud the news. “12,000 bikes. 700 stations. 1 world-class CEO. Citi Bike goes big in NYC,” she tweeted today.
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