Taken from NYC.gov.
Taken from NYC.gov.

Citi Bike, the new bike share program operated by NYC Bike Share, has finally arrived in New York City, after many years of planning. Launching May 27, 2013 (for paid, yearly members first, June 2 for everyone else), New York City becomes one of the largest cities in the world to offer a public bicycle sharing program for residents and visitors alike. Initially, there are about 6,000 bikes, all parked at several hundred locations throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. If the program works well enough, Queens will soon be added, possibly followed by the other boroughs after.

How Citi Bike Works

Citi Bike bicycles are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. At each Citi Bike kiosk, a customer will have the choice to purchase either a 24-Hour or 7-Day Pass; those wishing for a longer term can sign up online for a yearly pass. There aren’t any human attendants, but each person will be able to complete the rental on the touchscreen panel, which will also have a map of the surrounding area and neighborhood and a docking system that releases bikes for rental with a card or key. To unlock a bike, 24-Hour and 7-Day Pass holders can print their ride code at the Citi Bike kiosk after they purchase a Pass. The code simply gets typed into the 3-digit keypad on any dock with an available bike, and presto! Annual Members simply dip their own unique key into the key slot at any dock with an available bike. To re-dock a bike, firmly push the bike into the dock and wait for a green light to blink on the dock to confirm it’s been properly locked.

How Much Does Citi Bike Cost?

Click on the tabs below to see pricing and time limits for each Citi Bike Pass option:

24-Hour Access Pass: $9.95 + tax Unlimited 30 minute trips; timer resets when you dock a bike. Avoid incurring overtime fees by returning your bike to any Citi Bike station within 30 minutes. Trips that are shorter than 30 minutes are no extra charge. Trips longer than 30 minutes incur overtime fees. After the initial 30 minutes, it’s an additional $4 for the second half hour, $9 for the third half hour, and $12 for every half hour after that. A trip begins when a bike is unlocked and ends when a bike is securely returned to any Citi Bike station. Overtime Fees: up to 30:00 min – $0.00 30 – 60 min – $4.00 60 – 90 min – $13.00 Every additional 30 minutes – +$12.00 add’l.

7-Day Access Pass: $25 + tax Unlimited 30 minute trips; timer resets when you dock a bike. Avoid incurring overtime fees by returning your bike to any Citi Bike station within 30 minutes. Trips that are shorter than 30 minutes are no extra charge. Trips longer than 30 minutes incur overtime fees. After the initial 30 minutes, it’s an additional $4 for the second half hour, $9 for the third half hour, and $12 for every half hour after that. A trip begins when a bike is unlocked and ends when a bike is securely returned to any Citi Bike station. Overtime Fees: up to 30:00 min – $0.00 30 – 60 min – $4.00 60 – 90 min – $13.00 Every additional 30 minutes – +$12.00 add’l.

Annual Membership Pass: $95/year. Unlimited 45 minute trips; timer resets when you dock a bike. Avoid incurring overtime fees by returning your bike to any Citi Bike station within 45 minutes. Trips that are shorter than 45 minutes are no extra charge. Trips longer than 45 minutes incur overtime fees. After the initial 45 minutes, it’s an additional $2.50 for the following half hour, $6.50 for the next half hour, and $9 for every half hour after that. A trip begins when a bike is unlocked and ends when the bike is securely returned to any Citi Bike station. Overtime Fees: up to 30:00 min – $0.00 45 – 75 min – $2.50 75 – 105 min – $9.00 Every additional 30 minutes – +$9.00 add’l.

 

The trick to getting longer rides and subsequent rides without paying the overtime rates is to get to a dock and restart the timer. 24-Hour and 7-Day Pass holders must request a new ride code to unlock another bike. Just swipe the same card you used to purchase your pass at the kiosk and a new code will be generated for you (the debit/credit card you used will not be charged again).

Citi Bike Locations

To see a current map of Citi Bike kiosk locations, check out the dedicated Google Map here. There also is an app that will be available for iPhones, iPads, and Android devices.

Citi Bike StationPoints to Remember about Citi Bike

  • You must be 16 or older to ride a Citi Bike.
  • A $101 security hold will be placed on your credit or debit card for every pass you purchase.
  • You may purchase up to two Passes per credit/debit card.
  • The seat post can be adjusted up or down for a more comfortable ride; for future rides, remember your seat height setting by referring to the markings on the side of the seat post.
  • Each bike has a front basket for carriage of lightweight items.
  • Use of helmets is recommended but not required.
  • There are currently over 700 miles of dedicated bicycle lanes in NYC, with more added frequently.
  • For an immediate subsequent trip, allow at least two minutes between rides for the system to process.
  • When you dock a bike, don’t leave the bike until you see the green light!
  • If a bike station is completely full, you can select “Request Time Credit” at the kiosk. You will then have 15 minutes added to your ride time at no charge. Select “Find Nearby Stations” on the start screen of the kiosk to find a neighboring station with available docks.

As the service is new in New York City, it may not work perfectly. Although there were many years of planning and research into bicycle sharing programs in other cities, New York City is unique and thus presents unique problems. Citi Bike pricing is reflective of the high prices that is synonymous with New York City; for long trips, they actually encourage you to try out a private bike rental place, such as from a bike shop. Citi Bike rentals are great for short one-way trips or bidirectional trips to the grocery, rides that are short in duration. For more information, check out the official website.

*Nifty Fact: The largest public bike-sharing system in the world is in Hangzhou, China, where there are around 69,500 bikes and 3,000 docking stations.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Christian,

    NYC Bike Share is awesome. The best thing is that you can use it all day, every day. Those bikes are great for relaxing, exercising and sightseeing New York City, all at the same time ;)

    Sincerely,
    Alexandros

  2. Great article! What a wonderful way to see New York City – by bike! The Bike Share sounds like a great idea. I wish we had something like this in my city.

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