The Real Deal New York

Citi Bike needs millions to survive

Share program struggling after slow winter, lower than expected revenue
March 21, 2014 01:30PM

Despite becoming an increasingly familiar and popular sight on the Big Apple landscape, Citi Bike may soon fall apart unless it successfully raises tens of millions of dollars.

The bike share program’s survival depends on its appeal to tourist and expansion to new neighborhoods. Citi Bike leaders have reached out to officials in the de Blasio administration to that effect, pushing for a lift in the rates charged for the blue bikes’ use.

Polly Trottenberg, the city’s new transportation commissioner, told the Wall Street Journal that Citi Bike faces “a number of financial and operational challenges,” the details of which she did not specify. “We are working as diligently as we can to help the company resolve them and strengthen the program going forward,” she said before the City Council’s transportation committee in a March 6 meeting.

Among Citi Bike’s recent issues are equipment damage sustained during Superstorm Sandy, software glitches, a frigid 2013-14 winter that hurt ridership and a greater popularity with annual users than daily or hourly ones. Those long-term riders generate less revenue with the $95 per year plus tax that they pay to use the bikes than those who purchase a 24-hour pass, which costs $9.95 plus tax, or a $25-plus-tax seven-day pass.

The bike share program has also had to contend with lawsuits from a number of New York City residential buildings, which aimed to remove stations from in front of Petrosino Square, 99 Bank Street and Cambridge House at 175 West 13th Street. A suit regarding the station in front of the Plaza hotel remains in limbo.

Others in the real estate industry, however, have embraced bike share stations as a building amenity. Brokerage added a function to its website showing listings’ distance from the nearest station in June of 2013. [WSJ]Julie Strickland

  • anon

    send the bill to de blasio, he’ll get it paid…just like he’ll pay the teachers, police, firemen and other disgruntled union members, etc etc

    • Uhhh…you sure about that?

      Except that Citi Bike is a non-governmental program, so De Blasio has nothing to do with it. Nice try though

  • Mark

    Raise the taxes…. .the rich deserve to pay for this!!!

    • Rich


  • Cedar Cat

    These things are a horrible idea. Taking up even more parking spaces. And I’m sorry, but who wants to put something between their legs that someone else (countless others) have likewise had between THEIR legs. Ugh. Would you use one?

    • The real problem is that many were installed in public pedestrian spaces rather than in parking spaces along the street. Pedestrians and bicyclists shouldn’t have to subsidize drivers who often get free or low cost street parking. Perhaps the solution to the CitiBike funding problem is more meters with higher rates.

    • Dogs are better than cats

      You’ve never sat on a chair in a cafe or restaurant? Or sat down on the subway?
      Idiot. Nobody is forcing you to use it.

      It’s funny how the people who have the most to say against the program have never actually given it a go.

      Why is losing parking spaces a big deal? Less cars on the road is clearly better for everyone. They can get about 8 – 10 bikes per car spot versus ONE car. There’s power in numbers!

  • mirimom

    The bike riders have a sense of entitlement, they absolutely do not obey any traffic laws often don’t wear helmets, I have seen accidents happen because of them

    • Ken

      how about yield for pedestrians and respect children stop for red flashers of school buses!!

  • Isaac

    we in Willieburg were the first to say back when the Kent Ave bike lane became an issue, the transportation alternative group are a bunch of fraud, fabricating statistics and numbers from the community board to the city council.
    They should close the TA, we are thrilled that the this part of bike sharing will shut down for lack of funds, cause the city and TA lied on the number of users but couldn’t lie on how much money its making, the register shows the were lying and lowing number of users out of the pants without facts.
    Its them they should investigate where the federal funds were used, also the city should file charges against Ed Skyler, Bloombergs former communications director who went too work for Citi Bank the one sponsoring the bikes-how much did he make on this deal.
    Well done and close shop