What’s been called the largest bike sharing program in the U.S. is coming this summer to New York City.
The bike rental program, called Citi Bike, will be paid for by a $41 million sponsorship from Citigroup Inc. Bicycles featuring the bank’s logo will be parked at kiosks throughout New York City, including in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island City and Queens. The rollout will begin this summer. According to Citigroup, no public funding will be used for the program.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled the new program with bank officials at a press conference Monday, May 7.
The Citi Bike program will include a total of 600 stations and 10,000 bikes. Each station will have a kiosk with a touchscreen, map of the system and bike storing docks. The docks will securely lock the bike into place until it’s rented for use.
Riders will pay a fee via credit card depending on how long they rent a bike, with rental slots divided into 24-hour, seven-day or annual periods. Yearly memberships of $95 will be available, with unlimited 45-minute rides for commutes included in annual memberships. Daily rides are more pricey, reportedly from $75 to $150.
Although the system is being privately funded, the system has the blessing of New York City’s transportation department.
“We recognized an opportunity to play a meaningful role in an initiative that will enhance the lives of New Yorkers,” said Citigroup Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit, in a statement.
A Quinnipiac University study in October found that 72 percent of New Yorkers supported the concept of the bike sharing system.
The bikes will be equipped with GPS to deter loss and theft, Bloomberg News reported. New York will share profits from the rentals with Portland, Ore.-based Alta Bicycle Share, which will manage the system.
More information about the program can be found at http://citibikenyc.com/.