Bloomberg Gives a Resounding “Eh” on NYC Bike Share Program


This is definitely not good for PR.

After we did a borough breakdown of the NYC bike share map yesterday, the Hozziner made a few remarks about the program set to launch in two months time. A quick summary: the blue wheels labeled “Citibike” are simply “eh.”
(We didn’t make this point yesterday: the mega-bank and Mets enthusiast, Citigroup, basically bankrolled the entire program; after a financial crisis, it’s always more customer-friendly to come off as too big to fail Mother Nature.)
So if you want to ride the flashy new wheels up to the Bronx or Staten Island – both places where the program is non-existent – think again. At the most, in Bloomberg’s words, you can “spend three to four hours” on these puppies before, presumably, they vanish into thin air.

Here’s the entire quote by the City’s commander-in-chief: “If you want to rent a bike and go into the park and spend three to four hours, there are plenty of bicycle stores that will rent you bikes and make it economical. This is a transportation alternative.”

And, now, here’s the problem: the bike share program is supposed to offer a cost-sensitive option so people don’t have to go to these stores. So Bloomberg’s remarks devalue the purpose of this new green initiative that will have 10,000 bikes on the ground just a bit. If a time limit of three to four hours is too much, what’s the point of taking the bike out in the first place?
A main point of a “transportation alternative” is to create a case as to why people should choose one option over another; in this case, why people should fly across Manhattan in the bike lanes instead of taking the L to 14th and 6th. The breakdown yesterday already made the argument that the program’s extent is geographically limited; now, the riders of the City might be cyclically limited.
However, until the program launches, Runnin’ Scared cannot put Bloomberg’s statement to the test. The test: an eight-hour bike tour across the Big Apple. We’ll see how far we can get without the wheels falling off.