With summer and tourist season quickly approaching New York City, city officials are working hard to get the ball rolling on a bike share program that will charge users a flat fee to rent the bike plus additional costs per half-hour intervals. Of course, because this is one of the most expensive city in the world, we’re not surprised a four-hour ride in one day of rental can run you up to $87 a pop.
The program, sponsored by CitiBank, will be implemented throughout the Manhattan and Brooklyn boroughs of New York City with 600 stations and 10,000 bikes located in convenient drop-off and pick up locations. These Citi Bikes will don the blue company color and logo, and you can rent a bike using your debit or credit card at the touchscreen kiosk. After payment, an unlock code will be processed so you can loan out one of the bikes and return them at any official station. Citi Bike stations will be opened 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Renters are required to be above the age of 16, and helmets are encouraged though not included.
The program says the bike share program is intended for riders making trips that are under three miles, and unless you’re rolling in cash, we suggest you do the same. A four hour loan of Citi Bike can run you $10 for the 24-hour flat rate, an extra $25 for two hours and $13 for each additional 30 minutes. A $101 hold will also be placed on your card until you return the bike, and you are reliable for a $1,000 charge should you run away with it. With that kind of costs, you might as well take the subway or a cab, or even buy your own bike for the duration. Comparatively, a bike share program in Washington, DC costs $54 plus a $7 three-month membership fee at the minimum for four hours.
Still, New York City is relatively easy to get around thanks to its grid design, so four hours of continuous bike riding might be unnecessary for city dwellers on the go. You can always pay the $10 rental fee and ride under 30 minutes each session before picking it up and going off again if you’re athletic and frugal. Citi Bikes will also give you a 15-minute credit and directions to the closest bike rack should you attempt to return your bike at a completely full station.
If you’re located in New York City, Citi Bikes will let you take the bike out for a sample spin in various locations throughout May and June, with an official debut slated for July. Who knows, maybe a little exercise and some sight-seeing are worth the short term investment.