City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez (representing District 10) and 27 other City Council Members are calling on Mayor de Blasio and Citi Bike’s operator (Motivate) to expand the bike sharing service throughout New York’s five boroughs. By the end of the summer Citi Bike is slated to expand its reach into central Brooklyn, western Queens, and Manhattan, but there is no official plan for expansion past that.
The proposed plan would call for an additional 6,000 bikes to be added in places that currently have no access to bike-sharing programs and are desperately in need of transit options. Motivate has requested that City Hall provide the space for bike dock stations at lesser or no cost, so that they can use the extra revenue to get bikes in Staten Island, the Bronx, and elsewhere to improve citizen mobility in current transit-deserts. Expansion into transit deprived neighborhoods provides a low-carbon alternative to cars and can better connect commuters to public transportation, which is essential for their ability to get around and for reducing the City’s emissions. The plan would also give Motivate more flexibility in pricing, which offers a promising opportunity for reduced fees for low income users.
Citi Bike has taken New York City by storm. On average, 60,000 riders take trips on Citi Bike per day, yet the City has not allocated adequate funding to expand the program throughout the city but has devoted millions of dollars to the ferry system which supports only 12,500 trips daily. Expanding the program into areas that don’t have access to many transportation options could be a major step towards transportation equity and opportunity access. Residents are calling for bike-sharing in their neighborhoods and their voices cannot be ignored, which is why Council Member Rodriguez and others are pushing the mayor to approve an expansion into all five boroughs.