The financially troubled company running the city’s bike rental program is considering raising its rates so it can stay afloat, new Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said Thursday.
“We’re talking to them,” Trottenberg told the Daily News at City Hall after testifying before the City Council’s transportation committee. “I would put it this way — all options are on the table. I think everyone agrees it turned out to be a real bargain for New Yorkers, who used the system twice as much as users of other cities.”
A hallmark of the Bloomberg administration, Citi Bike launched in May with numerous docking stations in Manhattan south of 96th St. and in parts of Brooklyn. Right from the start it was wildly popular — there were 80,000 annual members in just three months, exceeding expectations — but former Mayor Bloomberg conceded in October that the operator was not making a profit.
Citi Bike annual membership costs $95, which allows a user to make an unlimited number of 45-minute trips. A 7-day pass costs $25, while the daily variety goes for $9.95.
Many neighborhoods have been clamoring for installation of Citibike stations, but it’s unclear when the system will expand, officials said.
“It’s not going to be in the immediate future, but we’re going to see if we can figure out the financial and operational issues and set them on a good path,” Trottenberg said.
At Thursday’s hearing, some committee members said Citi Bike has become part of the city’s transportation infrastructure and warrants government subsidies.
“To achieve full build out and go to the neighborhoods we want to go to, I think it’s going to take public funds,” Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Queens) said.
And does Rory have CitiBike in his district? No. So why does he think it's such a great idea to fund a failing program? How about letting CitiBank pay for the increased cost since they are getting free advertising from it and got a very generous bailout from us schmucky taxpayers in the not-too-distant past?