Bike sharing program launched in NYC

New York City’s bike-sharing program was officially launched last week, sending 6,000 bright blue “Citi Bikes” onto the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn.

The system will feature 24/7 access to terminals at hundreds of subway stations around New York. Each terminal is equipped with a touchscreen kiosk, a map of the service area and a docking system that releases bikes for rental with a card or key. At around $95 a year or $9.95 a day it is hoped to be embraced as an inexpensive and convenient alternative to other transport options, including private vehicles.

A New York Times blog reported a bumper first day of operation, calculating that 13,768 miles were travelled across 6,050 unique journeys. As one might expect, the rollout wasn’t totally without incident, with some reports of malfunctioning terminals and bicycles slightly souring the launch.  Even so, first day uptake augurs well for continued growth of the program.  A similar scheme in Boston (with approximately 1,000 bikes and only 1/5 of the population of Manhattan/Brooklyn), registered just under 4,000 trips last month – a new record for that city.

Cristina Lynn was in New York last week and noted that the bike parking areas were quite empty, indicating that they are being well utilized. Here are some photos she brought back….

Meanwhile, Moscow is heading down a similar path, looking to launch a bicycle-sharing scheme of its own. Described by The Daily Telegraph as “one of the world’s least cycle-friendly cities”, officials announced that it plans to develop a total of 131 kilometres of cycle paths by the end of this year — a tiny figure compared with other large cities such as New York which has more than 1100 kilometres, but it’s a start!

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