CitiBike launch-date is set for members (and then for everyone else)

citibike-launch-date-set-members-and-then-everyone-else
The CitiBike, and Robert Steel. (Dana Rubinstein)
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Today, at a City Council hearing on the budget, transportation commissioner Janette-Sadik Khan announced that the city's bike share program would launch on May 27 for members and June 2 for everyone else.

"If you sign up and get up a membership now, you will be able to have a key sent to you in the mail, so you'll be able to use it on day one," said Sadik-Khan.

In other words, people who pay $95 (plus tax) for an annual membership, will, starting May 27, be able to borrow one of 6,000 CitiBikes from 330 bike share stations for an unlimited number of 45-minute rides.

People who don't purchase annual memberships, or who purchase them, but not in time to get the key in the mail by May 1, can pay $9.95 a day (plus tax) for unlimited 30-minute rides, or $25 a week for unlimited 30-minute rides, starting June 2.

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The Memorial Day launch, said Sadik-Khan, is ideal "because there's less traffic on the streets."

So far, more than 8,000 New Yorkers have signed up for annual memberships, which is more than the annual membership of Boston's two-year-old bike share program.

For now, the bikes will be located at stations in Manhattan south of 59th Street and in Brooklyn. You can see a map of bike share stations here.

The city had originally hoped to have 10,000 bikes at 600 stations.

But for the city's full vision to materialize, it will need to find additional funding (aside from the $47 million worth of sponsorship money from Citibank and Mastercard that's fully underwriting the existing program).

Today, after Queens Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer once again said his district would very much like bike share, too, Sadik-Khan told reporters that the department was actively seeking federal funding and additional sponsors for the entire complement of bikes.

"We're very confident that we're gonna be able to find the additional revenue to expand the program," she said.