- Lyft will invest $100 million in New York City's bike-share network, Citi Bike, over the next five years, tripling the number of bikes to nearly 40,000 vehicles and more than doubling the size of the service area, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday.
- The new dock and service locations will be determined in the coming months after community outreach. The new fleet will include more pedal assist bicycles.
- Lyft’s investment will also help support an expansion of the Reduced Fare Bike Share program, which provides discounted $5 memberships for low-income residents.
Citi Bike is the nation’s largest bike-share program with 12,000 bikes currently in the network, but has been criticized for not reaching all areas within the city. The new infusion of cash from Lyft — which purchased Citi Bike parent company Motivate earlier this year — will add 35 square miles of service area over five years, moving it beyond its current service zones in Manhattan and western Brooklyn and Queens. A 2009 study from the city found a network with 50,000 bikes could service two-thirds of New Yorkers; the expansion will bring Citi Bike closer to that level.
"New York City is one of the world’s great biking cities — and it’s about to get even better," said de Blasio in a statement. "This expansion means tens of thousands more New Yorkers are going to have a fast and inexpensive way to get around their city."
City council members this week introduced a package of four bills that would legalize e-bikes and scooters, which de Blasio has cracked down on, in part to offer more options to people in transit deserts that don’t have public transportation or Citi Bike options.
The expansion comes as Lyft’s competitors are lining up to unleash other mobility services in the Big Apple. The city is wrapping up a pilot for dockless bikes with five companies, with participants eager to expand. Jump, the dockless bike-share company owned by Uber, recently released a report showing a fleet of 100,000 to 200,000 dockless bikes could get a million trips per day.
Uber spokeswoman Alix Anfang criticized Citi Bike for "still not committing to serve all New Yorkers" in a statement to The Wall Street Journal. "The city should work with all parties to ensure access to everyone who wants to ride a bike to get around their communities — not one company which has long left outer borough New Yorkers stranded," Anfang said.