First summer of Citi Bike exceeds expectations
New Yorkers have certainly done their "share" to make Citi Bike a hit.
The inaugural summer of Citi Bike, which launched on May 27, has been a major success, according to the city Department of Transportation. More than 288,000 subscriptions have been registered for the bike share program through last Thursday.
Bike advocates say the program's popularity doesn't just exceed expectations; it gives the city more incentive for expansion. "I think looking at those numbers, it's shown that it's done exceptionally better than what anyone thought," said Caroline Samponaro, the senior director of campaigns and organizing for Transportation Alternatives.
DOT officials said they knew the program was a hit a day after registration began, when 3,000 people applied to be among the first riders. They added that they are impressed that Citi Bike's popularity hasn't waned as riders have logged 6.6 million miles so far.
As of Thursday, there were 80,826 annual members, who pay an annual rate of $95 plus tax for 45-minute trips; 21,187 weekly members, who pay a weekly rate of $25 plus tax for half-hour trips; and 186,902 daily members, who have signed up to pay a daily rate of $9.95 plus tax for half-hour trips. Riders pay extra when they go over their initial time limit, but can dock a bike and immediately take it out again to reset the timer.
The service, which celebrated its 100th day of operation on Sept. 4, provides 6,000 bikes at 330 stations in parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Calculations done by amNewYork found that the city collected a combined $10,067,819 in revenue from the fees alone so far, not including taxes and overtime charges. A DOT spokesman could not provide an exact figure for how much money Citi Bike made.
Since Citigroup provides the funding for the $41 million program, the city has pocketed a lot of the revenue, according to Samponaro. Plus, she said, riders get a good bargain. "Relatively speaking, it's incredibly cheap to ride bike share. It's just a quarter a day to ride unlimited trips, 40 minutes a trip," she said.
Citi Bike is expected to generate $36 million for the city each year, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said before the program launched.
Janette Sadik-Khan, the city's transportation commissioner, added that Citi Bike's popularity has indelibly shaped the city. The blue bikes have become as synonymous with New York as yellow cabs or subways.
"With more than 3 million trips and 80,000 annual members in less than four months, it's already hard to imagine a New York City without Citi Bike," she said in a statement.
The transportation department plans to expand Citi Bike in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens, but doesn't have a start date. Samponaro predicted that the eventual expansion will continue to drive demand and inspire other global cities to be more bike friendly.
"There is something to be said for the world looking at New York. If it can work in New York, it can work anywhere," she said.
Citi Bike Stats (As of Sept. 12)
Total Trips: 3,174,977
Total Miles: 6,680,100
Daily Subscriptions: 186,902
Weekly Subscriptions: 21,187
Annual Subscriptions: 80,826
Total gross from membership fees according to amNewYork calculations
(not including taxes and overtime charges)
$9.95 Daily Memberships: $1,859,674
$25 Weekly Memberships: $529,675
$95 Annual Memberships: $7,678,470