City officials are close to finalizing an agreement that would expand New York City’s bike-sharing program. Named Citi Bike because of its sponsor’s name, the program has shown its value and, over the past year, has exposed its issues that need attention. Faulty software and worn-out bike docks are among the most repeated complaints from bike-sharing customers. Annual membership took a slight dip, as well; there were 96,318 annual members in June, compared to 105,355 in May.
Former mayor Mike Bloomberg initialized the program, and his successor, Mayor Bill de Blasio, hopes to make his mark and improve its efficiency.
If the prospective deal happens, it would raise annual Citi Bike cost from $95 up to around $155. The money would be used to improve the software as well as other customer service issues. The current system includes approximately 6,200 bikes, and they are spread out across 330 stations.
There are not any stations north of 60th Street in Manhattan or east of Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn. The goal is to nearly double the size of the Citi Bike program to 12,000 bikes and to complete the expansion before the end of 2017. The program would include bikes and stations in Queens for the first time and move deeper east in Brooklyn and farther north in Manhattan.
If the agreement is solidified, control of the program would transfer from Alta, an Oregon-based company, to REQX, a collaborative effort of the real estate firm Related and fitness chain Equinox. Additionally, REQX would gain a major stake in Alta’s systems in other cities, including Melbourne, Australia.
The bike program is the perfect vehicle to push Mayor de Blasio’s “Vision Zero” plan to eliminate traffic deaths by 2024. No one has been killed on a Citi Bike to date, and transportation officials attribute that statistic to a safety in numbers effect. They cited that private biking has become safer in areas that feature bike sharing.
Image Credit: citibikenyc
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