When the Citi Bike program launched in New York City in 2013, residents were skeptical about and even opposed to the concept of a bicycle-sharing program in the Big Apple. Now, three and a half years later, Citi Bike is the largest rideshare program in the U.S. As it continues to grow, officials are looking to expand into more of the five boroughs to try to remove commuters from cars and give residents an alternate form of transportation.
So far Citi Bike stations have been located below 59th Street in Manhattan and in small sections of Brooklyn and Queens. The latest phase of the program will bring 100 new bicycle stations to Astoria, Crown Heights, and Harlem in the next 12 months. This expansion will increase the number of Citi Bikes available in NYC from 10,000 to 12,000, double what the program started within 2013. Estimates for 2016 show 14 million rides will be taken on Citi Bikes.
Since its inception, the Citi Bike program has been privately funded through advertising and user memberships and fees. The Department of Transportation’s only involvement has been for planning. As the program continues to expand, there have been questions on whether or not public funding would be involved. Staten Island and the Bronx are the two boroughs with no Citi Bike stations, and officials hope to bring the program there once this latest phase is complete. The DOT commissioner admits a city-wide expansion throughout all five boroughs would take a number of years to complete as almost 80,000 new bicycles would be needed. Right now 2,000 CitiBikes are being implemented on a yearly basis.
One of the reasons the program has become more popular is that it offers New Yorkers an alternative to driving or taking mass transit. The hope is to place the bikes in additional lower-income neighborhoods so residents can take advantage of the $14.95 a month membership fee as opposed to the $116.50 it costs for a monthly MetroCard to ride the bus and subway. One of the concerns with placing more stations in residential neighborhoods is the logistics of working around essential parking spaces, building entrances and loading zones. Plus, there is the issue of making sure the stations remain stocked with bicycles at a consistent rate.
As the CitiBike program continues to develop, motorists need to be aware of the greater presence of cyclists on the roads in an effort to avoid an accident. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident as the result of the actions of a reckless and careless driver, please call the skilled and experienced attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C., to fight to obtain the compensation you are entitled to.