NYC Bike-Share Delayed Amid Corporate Divorce

The $47 million citywide bike-share program funded by Citigroup and MasterCard won't launch until next March.

by / August 20, 2012
Photo courtesy of Citi Bike

New York City's bike-share program has been delayed until next March, six months after the original deadline, The Wall Street Journal reported on Aug. 17.

"The software doesn't work," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on his radio show. "Duh. We're not going to put it out until it does work."

The Citi Bike program is scheduled to launch with 7,000 bicycles, according to an announcement by the city's Department of Transportation, and will eventually grow to 10,000 bicycles and 600 stations.

The delay, said Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, was caused by a messy corporate divorce between the city's vendors – Alta Bicycle Share and Montreal-based PBSC Urban Solutions – and a former technology partner that built the operating system. The operating system controls solar-powered docking stations and a GPS-powered inventory system and is integral to the program.

Citi Bike is supported by the city, but entirely funded for the first five years by a $41 million sponsorship from Citigroup Inc. and an additional $6.5 million from MasterCard Inc. The program fits into the city's plans to improve public transit. About 72 percent of New Yorkers supported the concept of the bike-sharing system, according to a Quinnipiac University study.

Yearly memberships will be $95 and include unlimited 45-minute rides for commutes. Daily rides are pricier, reportedly from $75 to $150.

For more information about Citi Bike, read the Government Technology report from May.