Citi Bike has informed its riders that prices will go up next year, citing the impact of inflation on the bike-share system’s bottom line.
The cost of an annual membership will rise next month by just shy of 11%, from $185 to $205, while the base fee for a single trip will bump 12.5% from $3.99 to $4.49. Day passes will see the biggest jump, a 26% upswing from $15 to $19.
Citi Bike’s “equity” membership for low-income New Yorkers will stay at $5 per month, but per-minute charges for e-bikes will rise for those members from 5 to 6 cents per minute. E-bike fees for members will go up from 15 to 17 cents per minute, and for non-members, the charge will increase from 23 to 26 cents.
Lyft, the rideshare giant which owns the 30,000-vehicle bike share program, known for its distinctive blue two-wheelers, informed members of the price increase in an email on Thursday.
“Our team is made of passionate riders who use the system daily,” said Lyft spokesperson Jordan Levine in a statement. “We are all committed to working with our city partners and doing our best to provide world-class service, create enhanced value for members, and increase equitable access for clean transportation options, while running a financially sustainable system.”
A spokesperson for the city Department of Transportation, which oversees the program’s use of street space, said it will engage with the company to ensure the program remains affordable.
“DOT’s goal is to provide New Yorkers equitable, safe, and convenient bike share service,” said the spokesperson, Vin Barone. “We continue to discuss with our service provider how to achieve these mutual goals.”
Lyft says Citi Bike has not been spared the wrath of uncertain economic headwinds, with inflation doing a number on the system’s supply chain by raising the price of bike components, materials, and shipping. The company has touted a plan to electrify its docks so its growing e-bike fleet can charge automatically, preventing costly and inconvenient battery replacement runs.
It’s the second year in a row that the company has raised its fares, with last year’s hike also pinned on the pangs of inflation. The company, like many others in the tech world, laid off hundreds of staffers last month after a brutal year that saw its stock price collapse by more than 75%.
Nonetheless, the company still plans to expand Citi Bike further into the outer boroughs, aiming to have 40,000 bikes in the system by the end of 2024 amid a post-pandemic bike boom in the Big Apple.
Lyft is also considering benefits to loyal customers, Levine said, including improvements to its Bike Angels rewards program that offers perks to riders who rent bikes from crowded stations and dock them at empty ones.