The Real Deal New York

Administration closes in on deal to prop up Citi Bike

Related Companies affiliate would buy a 51 percent stake in the program from Alta Bicycle Share

July 02, 2014 10:02AM

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From left: Mayor Bill de Blasio and a Citi Bike station

From left: Mayor Bill de Blasio and a Citi Bike station

The de Blasio administration has come to a tentative agreement to boost the troubled Citi Bike program.

The administration reportedly approved a deal between REQX Ventures and Alta Bicycle Share. Talks between the three parties started in May. 

Under the terms of the agreement, REQX, an investment firm formed by the Equinox gym chain and its owner Related Companies, would buy at least 51 percent of Alta Bicycle Share. Alta, a Portland, Ore. based company, currently runs the New York bike share program.

As part of the deal, REQX would also gain control over bike-share programs in Toronto, Chicago, Columbus, Chattanooga, Boston, the Bay area, Washington and Melbourne, Australia. It would also give the company the authority to raise the annual fee without approval from the city.

Sources told Capital NY that REQX would install new software and use revenues derived from rate hikes to stabilize the system’s finances.

De Blasio previously said that he wants to expand the program, but did not want to invest any more public funds into the bike share. The program has encountered financial troubles from the start. Recently, Citi Bike received a $1 million parking ticket from the city. Hurricane Sandy also slammed Citi Bike, damaging stored equipment.

The agreement has not yet been finalized by the city.

Though more than 100,000 New Yorkers have paid the $95 annual membership for the bike-share program, those users generate less revenue than those who use the bikes on 24-hour passes, which cost $9.95 plux tax, or those who pay $25-plus-tax for a seven-day pass, as previously reported. The bike share program has been hailed by the real estate industry as a hot new amenityfor New York City residential properties, though a few buildings have tangled with the city in an effort to remove stations from in front of locales like Petrosino Square, 99 Bank Street and the Plaza Hotel[Capital NY] – Claire Moses and Julie Strickland

  • Perryr

    Great, raise the price then nobody will use the service. The bikes are starting to fall apart.

    • AnoNYC

      I use the bikes daily and the vast majority operate smoothly. They are priced well below value too (For annuals).

  • http://www.ianmacallen.com/ Ian MacAllen

    De Blasio wants everyone to drive.

    • Crian Bashman

      Huh? He wants to expand the availability and has also implemented Vision Zero…

      • http://www.ianmacallen.com/ Ian MacAllen

        Explains why he keeps issuing tickets to pedestrians, voted against congestion pricing, and refuses to fund CitiBike.

        • Crian Bashman

          Do you think pedestrians that are ticketed for jaywalking are going to stop walking? Are they going to use a car to get everywhere from now on? More likely they will stop jaywalking. To implement Vision Zero all parties needs to be held responsible for their actions, including the pedestrian. If we want truly orderly, safe streets, everyone in the multi-modal system has to behave properly.

          I don’t see how voting against congestion pricing = everyone should drive. If one is Manhattan-centric, lives, works, plays south of 60th Street, then congestion pricing will probably make your life wonderful. However, the other 85% of the NYC population get little to no benefit, and likely deal with the increased burden it would cause, especially those in locations that do not have good public transportation access. I personally think we are better off implementing Sam Schwartz’s idea of spreading the tolls to all river crossings evenly across the city.

          With regards to Citibike, it was intended on being funded by the private sector and he (&others) have found a way to get additional private sector money involved to keep it going. Again, not sure how that means he wants everyone to drive…

          • http://www.ianmacallen.com/ Ian MacAllen

            Jaywalking is a product of poor street design, usually because traffic lights favor vehicles and roadways have been expanded at the expense of pedestrian spaces. Also, pedestrians don’t kill drivers, drivers kill pedestrians, usually because of speeding, running red lights, and reckless driving. Vision Zero is a public relations stunt designed to distract the public from the high number of preventable pedestrian deaths.

            Congestion pricing would have made a huge impact on the lives of everyone in the region. The additional money raised could be put toward transit projects like expanding subway services, modernizing the subway system, reducing wait times, expanding transit connections between the city and her suburbs, and other projects that are otherwise unfunded. In addition, by reducing overall traffic, the entire region would benefit from cleaner air. Not only would there be fewer cars in midtown and less congestion, fewer vehicles would drive into the city all and suburban drivers would make shorter trips to transit. Travelers passing through the city would have the benefit of contending with fewer cars — which of course would lead to less air pollution, particularly in places where through highways bisect the boroughs. Scwartz’s plan punishes people for living in the outer boroughs. Its a tax on people unable to afford Manhattan’s rents because it eliminates free passage by any mode to Manhattan.

            It was never a smart idea to provide an essential city service through private investment. The hope that it would be solvent has proven false and the city should pick up the slack — another reason why congestion pricing should have been implemented.

          • Crian Bashman

            Poor street design is why people jaywalk midblock during rush hour? People can’t walk another 100 feet along the avenues to a crosswalk? I won’t deny that there are tons of poorly designed roads all over the US as a result of anti-pedestrian road design, but it is no excuse for jaywalking. Individuals risk their lives doing so, regardless if cars are obeying the speed limits. The timing of traffic lights in NYC is more favorable to the pedestrian than most other places. I was in Jersey City recently and the timing was horrific for pedestrians.

            You are telling me that Schwartz’s plan is a tax on the residents of outer boroughs, but congestion pricing isn’t?

            I am a supporter of Citibike, but to say its an essential city service is a stretch. Bike lanes are essential, rental bikes are not.

          • http://www.ianmacallen.com/ Ian MacAllen

            Yes, poor street design leads to jaywalking and makes street crossing dangerous. Fewer lanes of traffic, pedestrian islands, and shorter green lights with longer pedestrian crossing times would all reduce jaywalking and make the streets safer. Also restoring on demand walk signals activated by pedestrians would eliminate jaywalking.

          • Crian Bashman

            There are plenty of well designed streets in very pedestrian friendly neighborhoods and people still jaywalk in those locations. Everyone needs to take responsibility is making our streets safer; drivers, pedestrians and bikers.

            I do not understand why anyone would be opposed to a multi-prong approach to improving street safety other than those that feel a sense of entitlement to their preferred mode of transportation.

          • http://www.ianmacallen.com/ Ian MacAllen

            I don’t understand why anyone thinks cars shouldn’t have to stop for pedestrians, so we’re probably never going to agree.

          • Crian Bashman

            Where did I say cars shouldn’t have to stop for pedestrians? Cars should stop for pedestrians and it is the law. However, it is also against the law to jaywalk, therefore people shouldn’t jaywalk. Why chose to enforce one law and not the other?

          • http://www.ianmacallen.com/ Ian MacAllen

            Selective enforcement of jaywalking in response to reckless drivers killing pedestrians is not making the streets safer.

          • Crian Bashman

            Again why should one party get away with the crime and the other no?. If you truly want safe streets, then everyone has to play a role. Your sense of entitlement is typical and unproductive.

          • Andrew

            Because pedestrians put their own lives on the line by crossing city streets, and therefore have a very strong built-in incentive to do so carefully, while drivers largely put pedestrians’ lives on the line by driving on city streets, and don’t have nearly as strong an incentive if enforcement is inadequate.

            This explains why most pedestrian fatalities are caused by driver error, not pedestrian error – and it also explains why ticketing pedestrians is an egregious misallocation of enforcement resources.

            Tell me, which do you think is safer for a pedestrian – crossing mid-block or against the light after carefully checking for approaching traffic, or waiting for the light and hoping that turning traffic will yield?

          • Crian Bashman

            Again why should one party get away with the crime and the other not. If you truly want safe streets than everyone has to play a role. Your sense of entitlement is typical and unproductive.

          • http://www.ianmacallen.com/ Ian MacAllen

            Entitlement is the expectation that drivers should have priority over pedestrians in the first place.

          • Crian Bashman

            Where did I say drivers are entitles to have priority?
            You can’t even make an argument without non sequitur after non sequitur. If everyone follows the rules streets will be safer, that is the bottom line. If you can’t understand that then you just like to argue for argument sake or are extremely dense.

          • http://www.ianmacallen.com/ Ian MacAllen

            Humans have been walking for 200,000 years. Walking predates civilization, language, and the wheel. The automobile by contrast is only a little more than a century old. The very idea of jaywalking is less than a century old. So again I say, I think the very idea that pedestrians should get out of the way of driers shows only the sense of entitlement drivers have.

          • Crian Bashman

            Cars weigh a lot more than humans, therefore it is in the human’s best interest to not get in the way of a car. The rules give the pedestrian the rights of way, what more do you want, no streets at all?

            Drivers, pedestrians and cyclists all need to adjust their behavior in order to achieve safe streets. One of the tools the City has at its disposal to effect change in behavior is enforcing the law. Just because 200,000 years ago cars didn’t exist, doesn’t mean the laws in place now shouldn’t exist. Should we reject all technological advances because they didn’t exist 200,000 years ago? See how ridiculous that sounds…

  • noclist

    I found one of these bikes abandoned outside my apt building in the Bronx. How or why it was there baffles me. Anyway, if this is how the equipment is cared for, it’s not surprising that it’s a money loser.

    • AnoNYC

      The company would have profited if it were not for Hurricane Sandy damage and the software dispute.

      If you loose a bike, you are charged over $1,000 dollars so the company is not loosing revenue on lost bikes (Still plenty in operation).

      • noclist

        Provided the person used a valid credit card and not one that was stolen or self made.

  • YES IM RIGHT

    Give anything to the mob of new Yorkers and it will be ruined. That is what the general public does. The general public is awful. All they want is more more more, pay for less less less, and then they treat everything like dirt. That is why they are part of the “general” public and not elite.

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