Takeaway: Upper Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn Brace for the Big Citi Bike Invasion
Terence Cullen Aug. 12, 2015, 1:15 p.m.
Phase 1 of Citi Bike’s much-celebrated Phase 2 of expansions launched last week in Long Island City.
The launch was under the auspices of a different bike company than when the blue bicycles first rolled out in June 2013. Motivate, the new controller of Citi Bike and nearly a dozen other bike share programs across the country, has upgraded the software that runs the bikes and has pledged to double the fleet of bikes to 12,000 by 2017 from the 6,000 bikes currently circulating through Manhattan, Brooklyn and a sliver of Queens.
That’s going to be followed up with a sponsorship of neighboring Jersey City’s bike share program, which was announced last week. Members of the program, which will debut in September with 350 bikes at 35 stations, will be able to use Citi Bikes in New York City, and vice versa.
“Citi Bike has already proven to be wildly popular in New York City with over 19 million trips in a little over two years,” said Jay Walder, the president and chief executive officer of Motivate, in prepared remarks announcing the sponsorship. “We’re now expanding the reach, making bike share a seamless part of the region’s transportation network.”
Soon members and tourists alike will be able to roll farther from Manhattan’s core into Queens and Brooklyn. Aside from the operating Citi Bike rack in LIC, there are another 11 planned between that neighborhood as well as the southern border of Astoria, according to a map on the company’s website. Riders will be able to take the bikes over Newtown Creek into Greenpoint, where there are another nine planned north of Meserole Street. That’s followed by a slew of bike stations moving south through Williamsburg into the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of the borough.
While there’s a small group skeptical about getting hit by the expansion in Manhattan, most residents have warmed to the site of Citi Bikes and their racks throughout the city so it’s worth taking a look at where Citi Bike has the strongest foothold and where people are riding the bikes.
The program launched two years ago with a reported 332 bike stations and 6,000 cycles. Those stations have been in Manhattan south of 61st Street and in a wedge of Brooklyn that includes Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, according to the map. Not to mention, there are two racks on Governors Island, which is only accessible by ferry.
The vast majority, however, have been in Manhattan where there doesn’t seem to be a neighborhood that is without at least one bike station. South of Chambers Street, for example, there are 27 docking stations, according to Citi Bike’s map. Moving a bit north, Citi Bike has seven stations just in the few blocks that border Washington Square Park. Along Broadway, there are at least 10 docking stations from West 34th to West 61st Streets—just a mile-and-a-half ride up the thoroughfare.
Sure, stations are great, but are people riding these bikes? The numbers seem to confirm that Citi Bike has become a solid means of transportation. As of June 30, Citi Bike has had nearly 18.9 million rides, data from the company shows.
Ridership averaged 41,912 trips per day for June, according to the most recent Citi Bike data. That was a big jump from a month earlier when ridership averaged 33,535 trips per day. And nearly double the average 23,612 during the unseasonably cool April.
And to get a little perspective on how the program is progressing, ridership averaged 21,212 trips per day in June 2013, per Citi Bike data, the first full month that the program was operational.
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