Back in high school most people would not be caught dead on a bicycle, but in New York limited parking space and heavy traffic make getting around on a single speed, light weight and portable mode of transportation like less of a bad idea.
Citigroup along with Mastercard, will be launching their new rentable and returnable bicycle service called Citi Bike, similar to the services that are common in Europe, and Washington D.C. The service will be launched in March of 2013, beginning with 600 stations, and 10,000 bikes in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. The bikes are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week, with pricing starting at $4 for your first 30 minutes to an hour.
Annual membership is offered and day passes are also available all provided at self-service, credit card only kiosks across the city. Bikes are provided for a majority of Manhattan and for a great part of Queens and Brooklyn with possibilities of expansion if Citi Bike does well.
Bikes can be rented from any of the 600 kiosks and returned to any of the kiosks allowing users a wide range of options when traveling around the city. Lower Manhattan has a large amount of kiosks and one directly in front of One Pace Plaza.
The aim of Citi Bike is to provide a “cheap, easy, efficient and fast” way to navigate the city. Also allowing those outside the MTA’s routes to get to bus and train stops with ease. According to Citi Bike, 54 percent of New Yorkers have to travel less than two miles to school or work and their program will offer an alternative to the subway and bus system, expanding the reach of public transport to many New Yorkers and allowing many to take a healthier alternative to the MTA.
This biking service seems to come at the height of the popularity of bicycling in the city. This past summer Joseph Gordon Levitt stared in “Premium Rush” a film that focused on biking New York.
NYC was also the host to the annual Bicycle Film Festival (BFF) show casing films on a wide range of topics all centering on the growing urban biking movement that has been building up its cultural impact over the past decade.
25 cities around the world host the BFF making it difficult to ignore, Citigroup has taken full advantage of this and with the launch of Citi Bike they are taking this underground craze and giving it to the average person.
Tim Dougherty, freshman, typically skateboards but said he was extremely excited for Citi Bike saying “It would be super convenient and I will definitely be getting a membership when it comes out.” The convenience of being able to return the bikes anywhere and not having to bring his board with him was very appealing to Dougherty and says he will be recommending the service to friends once it begins.
Julian Hollinger also showed a great interest in Citi Bike and said if the prices were affordable he will be waiting for the day he can skip waiting for the train and just ride to his destinations. With dorms located across the Brooklyn Bridge, biking offers a healthy alternative to riding the subway every day to classes.
The U.S. is finally joining the worldwide biking craze and Citi Bike couldn’t have picked a better time to spearhead the biking sensation for the everyday commuter.