Citi Bike offering free rides for essential workers during COVID-19 crisis

Citi Bike to expand following accusations of white favoritism
A Citi Bike rack in Downtown Brooklyn.
Photo by Kevin Duggan

Citi Bike owner Lyft will provide free access to its bike-share program for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, the company announced Tuesday. 

Citing an increase in demand at stations near major hospitals, the company will provide free month-long memberships of the bike-share service for healthcare workers, transit workers, and first responders. 

“If your job at MTA, NYPD, FDNY or a hospital requires you to move around, I strongly encourage you to become a Citi Bike member,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.

City officials have touted cycling as a safer alternative to mass transit, as cases of the highly contagious novel coronavirus increase every day. Getting around on two wheels may also prove to be the most efficient way to travel, as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority recently announced it will be cutting service dramatically while the pandemic rages, due to a huge drop off in ridership. 

The rise in cycling has also led to a push for more temporary bike infrastructure. So far, a temporary protected bike lane has been slotted for Brooklyn’s Smith Street — an essential passage on the route to the Manhattan Bridge — and Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced he will close at least two streets to cars in each borough.

In the meantime, the company that owns Citi Bike is sanitizing its fleet more regularly, to scrub unwanted germs from its communal handlebars.