true blue: citibank will be nyc bike share sponsor

With the announcement yesterday of Citigroup’s lead sponsorship — to the tune of $41 million over 5 years — bike sharing in NYC is on the map. Mayor Michael Bloomberg laid out the details of the much-anticipated plan as the blue-painted ‘Citi Bikes,’ soon to be a fixture on New York City streets, made their debut. The secondary sponsor, investing $6.5 million, is Mastercard.

The privately funded system, which will be managed by Alta Bike Share of Portland, OR, will give users access to 10,000 bicycles that can be checked out 24/7  from a network of 600 stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. When launched this summer, bike sharing will give New Yorkers and visitors a fast, efficient and economical, not to mention fun, option for traveling around the city, either directly from point to point, or as an extension of public transit routes. Think: Arrive at Grand Central Station, check out a bike, and ride it down to Wall Street. Or, use a bike to zip across town during rush hour.


At the announcement, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg holds the membership key for NYC bike share.


NYC Bike Share Announcement - Sadik Khan and Cohen
From left: NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Alison Cohen, Alta Bicycle Share president.

When you consider that 54 percent of all trips made by New Yorkers are less than two miles, bike sharing holds considerable potential to transform the city’s transportation landscape, as it has in cities like Paris and London. With the first 30 or 45 minutes of access free and hourly charges accruing more steeply as time elapses, bike sharing is designed to encourage trips under three miles.

 Follow news about Citi Bike here: website, twitter and Facebook.

How does it work? Walk up to a bike share station, insert your key if you’re a member, or a credit or debit card if you’re checking a bike out for a day or week. You’ll receive a “bike code.” Enter the code at the docking station to release a sturdy, street-ready bike, and you’re ready to ride.

With yesterday’s announcement came additional details of how the system will operate.

8 Things to Know About Bike Share:

1. Pre-launch test rides: Citi Bike will host demonstrations at different locations where you can take the bikes out for a spin and get your questions about bike share answered.

2. Base pricing:

    • Annual membership = $95. You’ll buy the membership online and use a unique key to check out bikes. The first 45 minutes of riding are free.
    • Pay as you go = $9.95 daily and $25 per week. You’ll pay with a debit or credit card at a touch screen at the bike share station and be given a code that will enable check-out. The first 30 minutes of riding are free.

3. Ride charges: After the initial free period, charges accrue: $4 for up to 60 minutes, $13 for up to 90 minutes, and additionally according to the chart below.

NYC Bike Share Pricing Chart

4. Age restriction: Users must be 16 or older.

5. Helmets: Recommended. Riders should bring their own. The city and NYC Bike Share are working with the bicycle industry to arrange discounts for bike share members. In addition, bike share share stations will list nearby locations for purchasing helmets.

6. Lost bikes: Replacement cost is approximately $1,000.

7. Kiosk locations:  The NYC DOT announced that the bike share system map will be available later this week at As part of a participatory process to decide the locations of bike share stations, the DOT met with community boards, business improvement districts, civic associations and many other groups over the past eight months.

8. Roll-out timetable:  About two thirds of the system, or 420 stations, will become available when the system launches in summer, with additional phased roll-out through spring of 2013.

Learn more at this FAQ.

photos: City Bike facebook

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