NYC Bike Share to be Largest in the Country


New York City’s Department of Transportation and Alta Bicycle Share, Inc. will be opening the largest bike share system in the country by summer of 2012. Ten thousand bikes in 600 stations around Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the surrounding burroughs will be available 24 hours a day throughout the year for short bike rides.

The Details:

Alta Bicycle Share, the same company that runs Boston’s New Balance Hubway and Washington D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare, will be running the program. New  York City’s program is funded by private sponsorship and user fees, much like Miami’s DECOBIKE. Alta will be responsible for installation, maintenance, repairs, cleaning, and customer support. The bike stations will be solar powered, thus reducing energy costs, do not require roadwork for installation.

Rental rates will be determined after the contracts are signed, but Alta is promising affordable annual memberships, costing less than a monthly unlimited ride MetroCard (around $90-95). Unlimited weekly membership would cost $20-25 and unlimited 24-hour access would be $8-10.  The NYC bike share will include the obligatory smart phone app, which will use the system’s wireless technology to find real-time bike and station availability.

Like the DECOBIKE bike sharing program in Miami Beach, the bikes will be available in 30 to 45 minute sessions. Longer trips will incur a small, graduated usage fee. Check out the Boston and Washington D.C. bike share programs to compare rates. Check out NYC Bike Share to see how it works.

Who will benefit:

Bike shares are great for short trips: they reduce bike parking, storage issues, and as well as theft. This share program will help New Yorkers connect to different modes of mass transit where subways don’t reach. And Alta Bike and the NYDOT will be hosting demonstrations, open houses, and workshops throughout the city for those who are new to the concept. Alta Share estimates that it will employ 200 locals to help run the share.

The Benchmarking Bike and Walking Report shows that New York is in the top five states for bicycling and walking levels, and that New York City ranks in the top five cities for the same. The city’s transit system already tops the nation in its scope; items like this bike sharing program no doubt make biking the Big Apple that much more accessible, especially considering that 54% of all trips New Yorkers make are less than two miles, the perfect distance for a quick bike ride.

New York City has one of the highest bike userships in the country, but it also ranks in the top 10 cities with the highest fatality rates for bicyclists and pedestrians. Mayor Bloomberg acknowledged this in his State of the City address in January: “…the reality is more and more New Yorkers are biking, and the more bike lanes we put in, the fewer deaths and serious injuries we have on the streets.” Of course, that depends on education and biker awareness. But it seems that the government will be providing the infrastructure support needed, as per the mayor’s address: “We’ll also make our city smarter and safer by deploying Traffic Enforcement Agents to safety hot spots at key intersections, doubling the number of 20 mile-per-hour zones for schools, and continuing adding more miles of protected bike lanes.”

Source: International Business Times | Image: NYCStreets

About the Author

I'm a Floridian transplant enjoying the farm to table culture that's flourishing in northeast Ohio. I am dedicated to supporting local food networks- which means I like getting my hands deep in compost, and I love shopping at local farmer's markets in small towns or taking my business to the many wonderful, independent restaurants in Cleveland. My goal is to connect communities with local, sustainable products and all the fun, important, green events going on in their areas.
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  • Mike Cohen

    Good for NYC. We have great Subways for long trips, great local shopping and entertainment within walking distance. Adding bikes to the mix will add a quick, convenient way to take trips from 1/2 mile to 5 miles. If you take into account waiting for transit and walking to and from stations, bicycles get you there faster, easer and less expensively door for trips in this range (1.2 to 5 miles) which account for the vast majority of tirps by auto and transit. Moving these trip to bicycle should do a lot to reduce traffic congestion, and polution as well as give New Yorkers needed exercise. The critical thing to do to tap into this tremendous demand is provide complete network of safe bicycle lanes. Even in the dead of winter, most days in NYC have no snow and no rain and are great for cycling.

    I’ll bet, at comfortable 10 MPH on a bicycle I could start out in midtown and get to anywhere in Manhattan and much of the outter boroughs faster than transit rider when you take walking to the stop waiting for the bus or subway and then walking to the final destination. The advantage of cycles in even greater when you concider transit primarily serves travel in and out of Manhattan. When I lived in uptown Manhattan, I always thought of Yankee Stadium as an hour away (A trian down to 125 ST and D train North). When I finally got access to a car I was suprised to learn it was only 10 minutes away (unless you got stuck in traffic).

  • Kyle K

    This is a great idea in theory, but I foresee a huge spike in the number of cyclist-related accidents/injuries/deaths as soon as these are deployed. Riding a bike in the city takes an enormous amount of additional awareness and caution that many fail to attribute to biking. Having to avoid obstacles that are constantly blocking bike lanes, watching out for opening car doors and swerving cabs, giving yourself enough stopping distance when approaching crosswalks, properly crossing all the traffic to get from the left bike lane into a right turning lane – failing to do any of these can (and often does) result in injury to the rider and possibly nearby pedestrians. These may be a good idea for Central Park or the east side highway, but you can’t exactly go for a carefree, leisurely ride through midtown.

  • Gilles

    I Had the pleasure to rent a bike in PARIS. It was great and very convenient.
    My wife ventured to go around L’Arc de Triomphe with many merging lanes.
    We are still alive. N Y go biking.

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