Citi Bike to expand following accusations of white favoritism

Seeing blue: Citi Bikes will come to almost a dozen more neighborhoods across Kings County by 2023, city officials announced on July 16.
Brooklyn Paper
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They’re pedaling away from controversy!

New York City’s largest purveyor of pedal-powered transportation announced a five-year expansion into eight virgin Brooklyn neighborhoods on Tuesday — one week after a social justice group called out the service for failing to serve low-income communities.

Transportation company Lyft — which acquired Citi Bike in 2018 — will invest $100 million to triple the total number of blue bikes in the city, many of which will be docked in transit-starved and low-income communities, according to Borough President Eric Adams.

“The expansion of Citi Bike into more low-income communities, and communities of color, is a long overdue step in delivering transit equity for all New Yorkers,” said Adams.

The announcement follows hot on the heels of a new study that shows Citi Bikes are currently concentrated in predominantly wealthy and white neighborhoods.

The head of New York Communities for Change — the organization behind the study — chastised the company for taking so long to bring their bikes to more neighborhoods in the city and said the company will need to take additional steps to ensure parity.

“We welcome bike sharing to previously unserved neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, but Citi Bike has had seven years to serve all New Yorkers and this is too little too late,” Jonathan Westin said in an emailed statement. “Citi Bike has prioritized the wealthiest and whitest parts of our city for too long, and while expanded access will be a big step forward, it’s the first of many needed to expand bike sharing to all New Yorkers.”

The new plan calls for additional Citi Bike docks near the L Train — the company has been stuffing rental bikes along the line in anticipation of the now now-averted L-pocalypse since April — but the lion’s share of new docks will be spread throughout neighborhoods that have little to no access to the Citi Bike, including Brownsville, Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, East Flatbush, Windsor Terrace, Ditmas Park, Kensington and Sunset Park.

Park Slope and Bedford-Stuyvesant, where Citi Bike currently has a substantial presence, will also see some new docks installed in underserved areas.

The new rollout will be accompanied by new handcycles — hand-powered bikes ideal for some disabled riders — which the company will test out this summer at community events throughout the Five Boroughs.

Citi Bike currently offers a reduced membership of $5 per month — instead of $15 — to public housing residents or recipients of the federal food assistance program, called Snap.

But that’s not enough, according to Westin, who said that the upfront cost of $3 per trip and the $169 annual membership are still prohibitively high for many would-be cyclists in the city.

“Expensive per ride charges and membership fees continue to keep bike sharing out of reach for too many New Yorkers,” he said.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.
Updated 8:16 am, July 17, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
This is a good thing and all you overweight anti bike car nazis better get used to it! If you say anything bad about it, I'll add you to my big internet lawsuit!
July 17, 6:55 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Too slow! Cancel the ferries and fund faster expansion of Citibike.
July 17, 7:47 am
Jo from Greenpoint says:
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says: a job for you from 9-5 will solve the problem,
July 17, 10:04 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Jo from Greenpoint, Congrats! You have been added to my lawsuit.
July 17, 10:13 am
Alexandria Obtusio-Cretins from District 14 says:
Citibike should be free for all.
July 17, 11:09 am
Steven from Bayridge says:
Henry Ford the keyboard tough guy.
July 17, 11:21 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Steven from Bayridge, Congrats! You have been added to my lawsuit too.
July 17, 1:47 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
I have added to myself to my lawsuit too.
July 17, 2:03 pm
Mike from Greenpoint says:
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge: you need help just check your self into a hospital get some rest.
July 17, 2:05 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Does this Jonathan Westin actually have a solution? Or does he just stop with $15 per month is too expensive?
July 17, 2:08 pm
Tyler from pps says:
If the person isn't a N.Y.C.H.A. resident or S.N.A.P. recipient, maybe they should open a bank account at the CDCU credit union and get the same $5 per month membership.
July 17, 2:08 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Or the $35 per year price for veterans and active duty military.
July 17, 2:09 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Or the dozens and dozens of companies that have free or discounted memberships if you work for them.
July 17, 2:09 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Or maybe Jonathan Westin should identify another sponsor to subsidize memberships?
July 17, 2:09 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Mike from Greenpoint, Congrats! You have been added to my lawsuit too. And your name is ghey.
July 17, 2:19 pm
Bob from Bay Ridge says:
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge, please be professional especially you are from the same neighborhood,
July 17, 3:41 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Do you wanna be sued too Bob? Keep quiet!
July 17, 4:12 pm
Betty Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Henry Ford From Bay Ridge, Congrats! You have been admitted to my clinic.
July 17, 6:54 pm
Matt from Bed Stuy says:
They’ve had the service for a few years here in Bed Stuy while places like Middle Village and Glendale have none so I don’t get the ‘white Favoritism’ nonsense. Clearly the service has been established in areas closest to the downtown business districts which tend to be wealthier. Give them time to expand without screaming ‘racism’ , sheesh
July 18, 8:25 am
Kellen from Fort Greene says:
How fair for these overlooked neighborhoods to get the full frontal Citibike treatment. Let Citibike now aporopriate hundreds of parking places in those neighborhoods just like Citibike has done in wealthier neighbirhoods. Enjoy!
July 18, 10:50 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Citibike is bad for the small business bike shop owner.
July 18, 11:34 am
mekotengiosolokowsky says:
Maybe they are afraid of vandalism, theft etc.
July 18, 3:13 pm
Beverly says:
So only certain colors count as important enough for him - the other colors still get no bikes?!
July 19, 10:34 am
Martin Malentov from Coney Island says:
II not subsidized by the municipal government, CitiBike would not exist. Let's have subsidized shoes for all us pedestrians too.
July 21, 6:56 pm

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