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Citi Bike ridership stays strong nine months into the program
Citi Bike is certainly on a roll.
Since the bike sharing service launched last Memorial Day, users have taken more than 6.5 million rides and logged more than 12 million miles. The blue bikes, which are located throughout half of Manhattan as well as northern Brooklyn, have remained a consistently popular transportation option even during the awful weather the city endured recently, according to data crunched by amNewYork.
An average of 9,256 trips were taken daily from Dec. 21 to Feb. 16, racking up an average 13,871.07 miles a day, according to Citi Bike data.
The program's advocates and transportation experts are surprised and excited to see that the blue two-wheelers have become a mainstay of the Big Apple commute so quickly -- even in adverse weather.
"The New York minute isn't a joke. They want to get where they're going fast and they want to get there on their own terms, so Citi Bike is a great answer," said Caroline Samponaro, senior director for campaigns and organizing for bicycling advocacy group Transportation Alternatives.
The only day that Citi Bike had fewer than 1,000 rides was Feb. 13, when a nor'easter dumped 9.5 inches of snow on the city. And even on that day, cyclists managed to take 909 rides and log close to 5,600 miles.
On other days of freezing temperatures and harsh snow, riders were out in even stronger numbers, according to the stats.
On Jan. 3, when temperatures only reached 18 degrees, there were 1,230 Citi Bike rides taken, for a combined 1,919 miles.
The city's transportation department said the average number of rides was more than 10,000 for the first two months of 2014.
Sam Slaton, a spokesman for the bike advocacy group Bike New York, said the consistent ridership demonstrates the power of bike sharing and helps New Yorkers embrace bicycling as a viable transportation option.
A key to the program's success, especially during the winter, is that riders can get to their destination more quickly than taking a delay-prone subway or cab, without the worries of owning a bike, according to Slaton.
"For anyone below 59th Street and in Brooklyn, Citi Bike might be the only way to get around. With Citi Bike, you just take it, ride it, and you don't have to maintain it or clean it," he said.
David S. Goldfarb, a professor at NYU Langone Medical Center, who hasn't missed a day of commuting on his blue bike since he got his annual membership key, agreed.
The 57-year-old Westchester resident said it's faster to take the bike from Grand Central than walking to his 23rd Street office, and he hasn't had a problem navigating through bad weather.
"The bikes are heavy and have good tires and they have good security," he said. "I've learned how to dress properly, and it really isn't too bad."
Slaton said the stats prove that more people are hungry for the program, which aims to expand beyond Manhattan and northern Brooklyn into more parts of Brooklyn and Queens. More than 1,700 people have signed up for an annual membership this winter, according to the stats.
"It definitely shows that Citi Bike is here to stay," Slaton said.