Mayor Bloomberg, Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Citi CEO Vikram Pandit today announced that Citi will be the title sponsor for New York City’s new bike share program, “Citi Bike.” The $41 million agreement will allow the nation’s largest public bike share system to be provided at a low cost to users and at no cost to taxpayers. The program will provide a new, affordable, 24/7 transportation option for New Yorkers and will launch in July 2012 in parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn. As part of the sponsorship agreement, Citi Bike branding will be displayed on the system’s 10,000 bikes and 600 bike docking stations.
The system will be operated by Alta Bicycle Share and the City will split any profits with Alta. Mayor Bloomberg also was joined at the announcement in City Hall Plaza by Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel, Alta Bicycle Share’s President Alison Cohen and Ajay Banga, President and CEO of MasterCard, which has agreed to be the system’s payment sponsor.
“The idea behind bike share is simple: give people one more way to get around town,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “We’re able to create this new option at no cost to taxpayers because of the commitment of an institution with a 200 years tradition in New York: Citigroup. The new Citi Bikes will be an affordable, entirely new, 24/7 transportation network that will help New Yorkers get where they’re going faster. When the walk seems a little far, New Yorkers can choose to skip the hike, and take a bike.”
“From its yellow taxis to its landmark bridges to the Staten Island Ferry, New York is a city of transportation icons, and these signature blue Citi Bikes will be New Yorkers’ newest transportation choice,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “This exciting sponsorship will help extend the reach of our transportation network at no cost to taxpayers.”
“New York has been Citi’s home for 200 years, and throughout our history, we have been proud to work with the City on innovative ideas that contribute to its progress,” said Citi CEO Pandit. “Citi Bike, which will add a new, sustainable option to help people navigate the city, is the latest embodiment of that. We recognized an opportunity to play a meaningful role in an initiative that will enhance the lives of New Yorkers and become a unique part of New York City’s urban landscape, and we are proud to help bring it to life.”
“One of Mayor Bloomberg’s signature economic development priorities has been to expand the transportation options available to New Yorkers and the 50.5 million tourists we now welcome each year,” said Deputy Mayor Steel. “With the addition of Citi Bike to our growing network of bike lanes, expanded ferry service, new express bus service and the soon-to-be-completed extension of the number 7 train, the City’s transportation network will have dramatically expanded during the Bloomberg Administration.”
“We have received an incredible amount of public and private support from the Department of Transportation, Citi and the community for the new bike share system in New York City,” said Alison Cohen, President of Alta Bicycle Share. “We look forward to bringing New Yorkers this highly anticipated new transportation system with the launch of Citi Bike this summer.”
In September, the City selected Alta Bicycle Share to operate the system, while simultaneously launching the search for a program sponsor. After discussions with a variety of large companies, Alta and the City were able to create a partnership with Citi for the primary sponsorship of the program. Alta Bicycle Share has created a New York-based subsidiary called NYC Bike Share. The City will split system profits with the operator.
Citi Bikes will provide a new, efficient transportation option for short trips that are too far to walk, but short enough that a subway, taxi or livery might be less efficient or more costly. New Yorkers currently make many short trips each day – 54 percent of all trips are under two miles. Citi Bikes will improve access to the subway and allow New Yorkers access to bikes without worrying about bike parking or storage.
The Mayor and Commissioner today also announced that MasterCard will be the system’s exclusive payment sponsor, with a $6.5 million commitment. MasterCard will equip the bike share stations with advanced PayPass Tap & Go payment points, in addition to traditional magnetic stripe terminals.
“We’re proud to sponsor NYC Bike Share and continue our long-standing support of the city,” said MasterCard President and CEO Ajay Banga. “This is the latest example of how we’re promoting the best New York has to offer. Recently, we launched the Priceless New York program to create new access, experiences, offers and memories for New Yorkers and millions of cardholders who visit the city.”
The Department of Transportation continues its extensive community outreach process to inform New York communities about the program and help determine specific bike docking station locations. Since September, the department has held 90 public meetings, workshops, demonstrations, open houses and presentations, and another 150 meetings with elected officials, civic and community groups, Business Improvement Districts and other stakeholders to gather input. Using the bike share website, members of the public have already proposed approximately 10,000 station locations and more than 63,000 indications of support for individual location ideas. Most of the locations were originally chosen by New Yorkers as a part of the community input process via suggestions on the website.
Public outreach efforts will continue as Alta and the Department of Transportation will hold public demonstrations of the bike share system in each of the neighborhoods planned to host the program. Maps of the bike share service areas and station locations chosen as a part of this community input process are being finalized and will be released shortly.
The installation of stations will begin in late July. The solar-powered, wireless docking stations will be located on sidewalks, curbside road space, plazas and other locations suggested through the community process. Each station can accommodate between 15 and 60 bikes. The self-contained stations require no utility connections and can be installed in minutes.
The system will be affordable, with an annual membership cost of $95, less than the cost of a single monthly unlimited Metro Card. There also will be options for day and weekly memberships. Members must be at least 16 years old and are entitled to unlimited use of the system for individual bike trips of up to 45 minutes. Members using the Citi Bikes for longer periods will be charged a graduated fee.
Each bike will be equipped with a bell and both front and rear lights, and each bike will be inscribed with a safety message encouraging helmet use; cautioning riders to yield to pedestrians, avoid riding on sidewalks, ride with traffic and to obey all traffic lights and signs.
New York’s streets are safer than ever with traffic fatalities at their lowest levels since record keeping began a century ago. Serious bike crashes have remained stable even as bike ridership nearly quadrupling over the past decade, and since 2000 the rate of cyclist injury in New York has decreased by 75 percent. The Department of Transportation continues its efforts to improve safety by launching ad campaigns targeted at drivers, cyclists and pedestrians and distributing more than 50,000 free bicycle helmets since 2006.