What is bike share?

Bike share systems provide iconic, sturdy bikes at self-service docking stations and a new easy way to get around New York.

People can use the bikes by becoming long- or short-term members. For 1-day or weekly memberships, users can sign up at any station kiosk with a credit card. Annual members enroll online and receive a key that is similar in shape and size to a flash drive. The key can be swiped at any dock in the system to unlock a bike. The bikes can be returned to any station in the system, creating an efficient network with many possible points and combinations of departure and arrival.

Why launch bike share in New York City?

New York City is introducing bike share in order to provide New Yorkers with more options for getting around the city. A majority of all trips (54%) made in the city are less than two miles. Bike share will give New Yorker’s a cheap, easy, efficient and fast option for these trips by providing ready access to a bike, without having to worry about storage or maintenance.
Bike share also leverages the city’s great mass transit system – in comparable cities, up to 50% of bike share trips are made to get to or from a public transit station. In New York, it will extend the reach of transit into newly developing areas that don’t have great subway coverage, like waterfronts.
This new travel option is being created with no cost to the City or taxpayers.

Who is running Citi Bike?

Citi Bike is run and operated by the New York City-based company NYC Bike Share. The City issued a request for proposals that asked companies to come to New York and run bike share as a business without government subsidies and selected NYC Bike Share as the operator. NYC Bike Share’s parent company, Alta Bicycle Share, runs the systems in Boston and Washington. Bike share systems in London, Montreal, Minneapolis and other places also use the same bike and station equipment that New York will have.

NYC Bike Share’s contract specifies a range of service levels that the company must meet in terms of system function and availability, customer support, cleaning and maintenance. The contract has a term of five years.

Who can use Citi Bike?

Bike share in New York is available to everyone 16 years old and older. Bike share memberships are usually purchased with a credit or debit card.

As cities all over the world have discovered, bike share programs are used by a wide range of people for an almost infinite variety of trips. In New York, where 54% of all trips are less than two miles, bike share will be useful to almost everyone – New Yorkers trying to get across town, commuters traveling to or from neighborhoods with fewer subway stations, students getting from dorms to classrooms, people who live a long walk from subway or ferry stations and tourists moving between the city ’s vast array of attractions.

Will Citi Bike be open year-round?

Citi Bike will run 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

In the event of general weather conditions that may make cycling hazardous, NYC Bike Share will temporarily shut down the system and lock down and/or remove the bicycles as necessary. The system will reopen as soon as the weather permits. NYC Bike Share is responsible for all station cleaning and snow removal.

How much will a bike share membership cost?

Annual Membership: $95
7-Day Membership: $25
24-Hour Membership: $9.95

A special $5 24-hour membership will be available for the first few weeks after launch.  Get full details on pricing and memberships from Citi Bike.

The pricing is designed to keep bike share trips short. Get a membership pass (annual, weekly or 24 hour) and take as many trips as you want. But if you exceed a time limit—45 minutes per trip for annual members and 30 minutes per trip for others—you pay additional fees based on how long you keep the bike. The fee is small in the first additional half hour but escalates after that, so it’s in your best interest to get where you’re going and re-dock the bike so someone else can use it.

How were the station locations selected?

Over the past year, DOT has conducted a very intensive and participatory public input process, meeting frequently with 15 Community Boards, conducting over 300 meetings with business improvement districts, property owners, civic associations, institutions and elected officials, and holding more than 30 events to demonstrate the bike share equipment. The City has held well-attended community planning workshops in every part of the bike share area and received almost 10,000 suggestions and 65,000 votes for station sites on the interactive siting map.

The input gathered through this process has created the site plan for the bike share and the result reflects the public’s preference for how the system should work in different parts of the city.

When will the program expand to new areas?

If the program performs well in its first few years, NYC Bike Share will be able to attract additional sponsorship and extend the program with additional bikes and more stations in other parts of the city.

Is bike share safe?

Yes. Citi Bike bikes are extremely stable, not capable of high speeds and are routinely maintained by professional mechanics. Safety features such as always-on lights, bells, and GPS devices are integral to bike share bikes. All bike share station locations will be reviewed and approved by DOT traffic engineers to ensure safety.

Today, cycling has never been safer in New York City. Since 2007, DOT bike counts on key routes have more than doubled, while cycling injuries and fatalities have fallen or remained flat. Overall, the risk of injury to cyclists in New York City has decreased by 75% since 2000. The City has added over 270 miles of bike lanes in the city since 2006, which has made streets much safer for cyclists. There are now more than 700 miles of bike lanes city-wide, including parks and greenways. Data from London and Washington show that people riding shared bicycles are involved in fewer crashes and receive fewer injuries than people riding their own bikes.

The City will use bike share to increase the outreach already underway around bicycle safety. The program’s visibility and its correspondence with subscribers will create a great platform to further educate New Yorkers on how to safely share the streets.

Are helmets included?

No. Helmet-sharing is not practical as part of the system. However, the City strongly encourages the use of helmets. The City and NYC Bike Share are working with local bike shops and the bicycle industry to provide discounted helmets to bike share members. In addition, DOT will continue to distribute free helmets – over 50,000 have been given away to New Yorkers since 2007. Call 311 for more information on being fitted for a free helmet. New York State law requires helmets for bicyclists age 13 and under.

Will theft and vandalism be an issue?

Theft and vandalism have been virtually nonexistent in the newest bike share systems, such as Barclays Cycle Hire in London, Capital Bike Share in Washington and BIXI in Montreal. The latest bike share systems use a strong, reliable locking mechanism. Bike share bikes are made with special parts that have no independent resale value, and bikes and stations cannot be disassembled without special proprietary tools. New York’s bikes will also have GPS units on board, allowing for location of missing bikes.

Will there be an app to find Citi Bike stations?

Yes.  The system will come with a great NYC-specific app, Citi Bike, which will provide real-time information on bike and dock availability. In addition, other apps, such as SpotCycle, also show real-time information for bike share systems around the globe. Ciit Bike and the City expect that the New York’s great developer community will create even more options for the public.

What kind of data will the system generate, and who can access it?

The software that runs the stations and overall system will record exactly when and where each bike is checked out and checked back in, and GPS in each bike will trace its path. The City will use this data to track the periods with heaviest demand and most used routes, similar to the way that the GPS data that yellow cabs generate is used. This generalized data will be open to the public. Data on use by specific individuals will be kept private.

Who is paying for bike share in New York?

Bike share in New York City is funded by sponsorship agreements, and, once the system launches, revenues from users. Sponsorship and revenues will cover the entire equipment and operations cost of the system. NYC Bike Share is not receiving any taxpayer or federal-aid dollars to establish and run the bike share system. In fact, the City expects that the system will make money. The City and NYC Bike Share will split all profits.

How was Citi selected as the sponsor?

NYC Bike Share put out a call for sponsors when the City announced them as bike share operator. NYC Bike Share, supported by city government, was in contact with companies around the world to discuss the project and solicit interest from potential sponsors.

How much is the sponsorship worth, and how long is it for?

The sponsorship agreement between NYC Bike Share and Citi runs for five years. Citi’s contribution as the title sponsor is $41 million. MasterCard is sponsoring the payment systems, and will outfit the stations with advanced, contactless PayPass payment points. In addition to this hardware, MasterCard is contributing $6.5 million. Citi’s brand appears on all 10,000 bikes, 600 stations, membership keys and the NYC Bike Share website. MasterCard’s logo will appear on the station kiosks, and on printed receipts.

What other cities have bike share? How do they compare with Citi Bike?

People are using bike share systems in over 200 cities, including Boston, Washington, Denver, Minneapolis, London, Paris, and Barcelona. More city programs are launching each year. In London, the 6,000-bike Barclays Cycle Hire program has recorded 4.5 million trips in its first year of operation and expanded to 8,000 bikes this spring. Washington’s 1,100-bike program was so successful that it has already expanded to keep up with demand.

Will the bike share system bring new jobs to New York City?

Yes. One of the great benefits of this program is that it will create about 200 new jobs in New York City. NYC Bike Share has advertised a number positions – from bicycle mechanics to call center operators to marketing and administrative staff – and expects to fill them over the winter.

NYC Bike Share is headquartered Brooklyn.