Transportation Alternatives Supports #citibike4all in New York City

Mayor de Blasio Must Commit Public Funding and Explore New Financial Arrangement with Motivate


Contact: Caroline Samponaro (646) 873-6021(718)753-6842 (mobile)

Transportation Alternatives is pleased to learn that Motivate, the operator of Citi Bike, is in discussions with the de Blasio administration regarding a plan to ensure that five-borough bike share becomes reality. The latest proposal would add 6,000 new bikes, two-thirds of which would be allocated to neighborhoods not currently served by the system. Crucially, this would allow for the expansion of Citi Bike into the Bronx and Staten Island, alongside additional stations in other neighborhoods in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

“Transportation Alternatives calls upon the de Blasio administration to work with Motivate to create a high-quality five-borough bike share system in a timely fashion. All New Yorkers will benefit from an accelerated expansion of this crucial transportation mode, ” said Paul Steely White, the executive director of Transportation Alternatives.

According to an article published in Politico, as well as comments made by NYC DOT Commissioner Trottenberg during the City Council Executive Budget hearing today, Motivate and the City are in discussions about how the operator can bear the cost of expanding Citi Bike within the next year. Contractual changes are being considered, including granting exclusivity to Motivate on bike share in New York City as well as expansion of advertising and new pricing models that taken together would enhance the financial viability of the system’s growth without the need for public money. 

In particular, Transportation Alternatives supports the proposal revealed by Politico that the City of New York would help underwrite the expansion by no longer requiring Motivate to pay certain fees, including reimbursements for the revenue the city cedes by turning over parking spaces for bike docks. With six or seven bike docks fitting into the space of one car parking spot, and a turnover rate of up to seven times a day at each dock, Citi Bike is a far more efficient use of space than car parking. Freeing Motivate from this reimbursement will allow the company to dedicate more of its financial resources to what it does best - providing bike share to more New Yorkers.

Citi Bike is the only metropolitan bike share system in the world to operate without public subsidy. Citi Bike riders made almost 14 million trips in 2016 without any public funding supporting them. Since its inception in 2013, Citi Bike has become an integral part of New York City’s transportation network, and expansion to all five boroughs is necessary to ensure it can be an even more effective and equitable mode choice. Citi Bike is popular as well: According to a Penn Schoen Berland and Transportation Alternatives poll in November 2016, 71% of likely New York City voters support Citi Bike expansion into all five boroughs. The City Council, in its formal response to the Fiscal Year 2018 Preliminary Budget, called upon the de Blasio administration to add $12 million to the Department of Transportation budget for the expansion of Citi Bike, asserting that Citi Bike has the potential to “resolve the problem of transit and health inequity for New Yorkers of all backgrounds.”