In September 2011, we were excited to learn that New York City was going to be inducting a bike share program, much like other cities have already done including Boston, Denver and Portland. After much anticipation, the bike share officially launched on May 27, 2013 and over the past few months has become quite popular among the city’s commuters.
These days it seems everywhere you look you see a Citi Bike docking station or someone zipping by on a bright blue Citi Bike. There are over 600 locations from downtown reaching up to Central Park South and as of July 26, there are over 64,000 annual bike share members. Celebs like Bruce Willis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Seth Meyers and Karina Smirnoff have all hopped on the Citi Bike bandwagon. You might also remember when comedian Fabrizio Goldstein made headlines this summer when he held free outdoor cycling classes on the stationary bikes for homeless people.
The reason why the Citi Bike share program has been successful thus far is most likely because it offers so many benefits. If you choose to bike to and from work, you can avoid traffic and crowded subways, its cost effective (an annual pass is less than $100), you’re able to fit in some extra cardio and best of all – it’s great for the environment! As we all know, cars are horrible for the environment because they create air pollution and harmful emissions. According to the U.S. Census, about half of all Americans live within five miles of their workplace. If they were to bike to work instead of drive, they would reduce their total household emissions by six percent.
To get started is easy, just sign up at CitiBikeNYC.com to get an annual pass, a weekly pass or a 24 hour pass. For a day or week pass you will get a code once you make your purchase that you enter at the docking station to get your bike then you get 30 minutes per session. If you choose an annual pass, you get 45 minutes per session as well as a key to unlock your bike. To help bikers navigate the streets of New York, Citi Bike has an app that offers route guidance, shows what stations nearby have bikes available and will also show places near docking stations like coffee shops or stores.
Unfortunately, not everyone is singing Citi Bike’s praises. Some people have reported glitches where they had trouble processing payments or issues returning bikes. Hopefully, all of these glitches are just a part of the new program’s adjustment period and these problems will be ironed out over time. Another issue is that the bike share does not require people to wear helmets, they only recommend that people do. Just recently Bike and Roll NYC partnered with Citi Bike to provide helmet rentals to members at 10 Manhattan locations and one Brooklyn location for $3 per day or $15 per week.
If you are still unsure if the bike share is right for you, Citi Bike is hosting a series of Street Skills Classes throughout August where you can attend a short informational session to learn all about the program and after you get a free 24 hour Citi Bike pass.
What do you think of the new Citi Bike share? Would you welcome this type of bike share in your community?