Citi Bike New York – photo from Animal New York
This Memorial Day weekend, Citi Bike launched its bike rental program in New York. Facing mixed reviews, it’s a privately funded venture from Citigroup, Inc. that has people talking. On the positive side, riders can unlock the bikes with a swipe of a credit card and ride them for 45-minutes without being charged a fee. A great way to get around the ever-increasing bike friendly city (well, almost, anyway – gotta give credit to those green bike lanes.) However, all new things seem to face some criticism and the bike rentals are no exception. From taking up too much sidewalk space to being an eye-sore, the bike rack seems to be the most talked about complaint in the city that never sleeps. The only silver lining seems to be from other cities that have launched similar programs, where at first bike sharing seemed ridiculous. For example, the folks in Paris now have adopted the program whole-heartedly. Following a few other national and international bike share programs, New York has designed their bike share program using the knowledge from other cities. Using the Paris Velib program as a template, New York has accommodated their bike share program to avoid some of those early problems in the Velib, like bike theft. With over 6,000 bikes and more than 300 rental stations, I look forward to New York’s bike sharing program success as a model for other cities. Because if New York can successfully pull off a bike share program, so could just about any city in the U.S. Do you live in a city with a bike share program? How successful has that been?