Oh the sacrifices we New Yorkers have had to make under three terms of Mayor Bloomberg. First we had to give up smoking in public places and not being able to light up at your favorite rock venue. Ok, we can deal with that, besides now we have these sneaky electronic cigarettes that plug in to USB like all our other fancy devices. Next we had to share our precious roadways (and more importantly-parking spaces) with bicycles. Gasp. Green painted lanes suddenly took over and moved cars aside giving actual room on the road for something other than motor vehicles and pedestrians. But, we New Yorkers are crafty and now we have lots of extensions of the sidewalk space for even more jay walking and talking on our fancy devices–take that bicycles. So what’s the latest thing you’re going to ram down our throats billionaire Mayor Mike before you exit stage left? Take our fatty soda away? Charge us more money to pass through Staten Island? This time it’s not something taken but rather given to us. It’s time for New Yorkers to try and remember something we learned in kindergarten…Sharing. New York enters the world of Bike Sharing. Walk past abandon relics of rusted frames and forks u-locked to a street signs and you will see rows of shiny new bicycles in neat little rows that you can rent for short periods of time as a viable option for transportation.
Memorial Day was the launch of long anticipated bike sharing program sponsored by the “TOO BIG TO FAIL” banking giant who we bailed out…Citibank.
That’s right…New Yorkers, Citibike is now in operation.
Monday was the launch of program for annual members who paid $95.00 a year for unlimited trips as long as they are kept within 45 minutes.
According to Citibike’s blog there are over 16,400 New Yorkers signed up to use this program. (After four days in operation-5/29/13-the number is up to 21,300)
The New York Times reporter, Matt Flegenheimer put out an article with some basic questions answered to help people learn more about this new transportation program:
Monday’s launch came with fanfare and some bell ringing from the Mayor.
Streetfilms own Clarence Eckerson, Jr. quickly put together this video of the opening day:
It was nice to see a fellow film technician and former bikeblognyc contest winner, Toby Miller featured in an article in the Wall Street Journal.
Bike Share Gets Rolling Across City
Mayor Bloomberg Rolls Out Bike-Share Program With a Ding of a Bicycle Bell
By: Josh Dawsey
Straddling a bike but never pedaling, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg rolled out a long-awaited bike-share program with a ding of a bicycle bell on Monday, an effort dubbed the city’s first new public-transit option in 75 years.
A signature Bloomberg administration initiative, Citi Bike—named for its main sponsor, a financial-services company—made its debut with more than 6,000 bicycles available at 330 stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn for about 15,000 people who paid a $95 annual membership fee.
Starting Sunday, others who don’t have annual memberships can buy day passes for $9.95 and weekly passes for $25.
Read more: here.
Just walking around on Monday (very jetlagged from a recent trip to India) it seemed like the citibikes were already being whole-heartily embraced on a sunny Memorial Day.
I ran into bike portrait photographer, Dimitry Gudkov of #bikenyc who has documented the extensively documented the cycling community and photographed our own D.O.T. commissioner Janette Sadik-Kahn who was beaming with excitement as her bike share brain child has become a reality.
He was out there checking out the citibikes for the first time.
Along with Streetsblog.org Dimitry has been capturing photos of Citibike members and giving flavorful descriptions of why New Yorkers are using the new bike sharing program. Here is a sample:
Emily lives in the East Village and commutes to Midtown. She was riding to work for the first time. Before becoming a Citi Bike member, she never rode a bike in New York.
How do you commute to work when you’re not riding?
“Usually I take the subway into work or I walk. I usually do a lot of walking so having Citi Bike as an option helps me save time while still being outside. I also hope biking will help me save money by not having to pay for bus or subway everyday.”
Aside from work commuting, how do you think you’ll use Citi Bike?
“I definitely plan to use Citi Bike in my free time. On Monday I rode over to the West Village for breakfast. I also rode over to Brooklyn to meet up with some friends. It was dark by the time I was ready to head home so I took the subway instead. It was great to drop my bike and not have to worry about getting it home.”
Read more here.
WNYC was on the scene on opening day with their own commuter challenge. Members of their Transportation Nation staff decided to perform a non-scientific time check (not a race-Wink Wink) to see compare the new bike share vs a subway trip and cab ride. You’ll never guess who came in first.
Listen to the whole segment here on the Brian Lehrer show including D.O.T. Commissioner JDK taking on hard questions about the bike share program.