The Big Apple has jumped into the bike share game, and, true to form, has immediately catapulted itself to the top of the list in terms of the size of the program. With 10,000 bikes spread out over 600 stations across Manhattan and Brooklyn in 2012, the program dwarfs other North American cities. (Toronto currently has 1,000 bikes while Montreal has just over 5,000). But even New York City’s huge roll-out won’t be enough to surpass Paris’ 20,000 bikes and Hangzhou’s over 60,000 bikes.
The program is privately-funded and operated by Alta Bike Share, Inc. with bikes and stations supplied by Public Bike Share Company—otherwise known as Montreal’s Bixi. The system looks to be similar to Toronto’s bike share, however trip limits of 45 minutes are being considered as compared to Toronto’s 30 minute limit. A yearly pass will cost less than $100, with the option for daily or even weekly passes.
However, what’s most interesting about the announcement is that, over the next few months, the City will be crowdsourcing potential locations for the bike share stations, turning to the internet to figure out exactly where people need bikes. You can check out the New York City Department of Transportation’s website for an interactive map that allows you to drag stations to locations on the map, write why you want a station there, and see where others have suggested stations. This kind of interactive and engaging task will not only hopefully design a better system that suits the needs of the people who will want to use it, but works to create a feeling of ownership amongst New Yorkers as they get to help build the system. Not to mention, it’s great publicity.
I was just in New York recently and marveled at the many new bike lanes, some painted a bright green or separated fully from traffic. The city has come a long way in the past few years, due mostly to transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan’s tireless efforts to transform how New Yorkers get around. The addition of thousands of bikes in this new program will no doubt change the game for cycling in New York, flooding the streets with tourists and locals alike.
photo from NYCityBikeShare