Schumer peddles fix for struggling Citi Bike

Proposed tax break aimed at pumping funds into bike share program

From left: Charles Schumer and a Citi Bike stand
From left: Charles Schumer and a Citi Bike stand

New York Senator Charles Schumer introduced legislation Thursday that could drum up much-needed revenue for a struggling Citi Bike.

Schumer proposed that bike-share memberships for the popular program be purchased with pre-tax dollars, with employers buying memberships for their employees and then writing off the cost. He did not reference Citi Bike’s recent troubles in the Thursday announcement, but the idea could generate money for the cash-strapped system, according to Crain’s.

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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 program has also struggled on the personnel front, with program head Justin Ginsburgh resigning last week amid “financial and operational challenges.”

The bike share program has been hailed by the real estate industry as a hot new amenity for 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. [Crain’s]Julie Strickland