Citi Bike bailout could come with rate increase

citi bike
Get your cheap ride in while you can. Photo by Mary Dorn

Citi Bike has been going through some financial difficulties, or as professional economists tend to describe situation, the system is “totally fucked.” So they went out looking for someone crazy enough to dump some money into the bike share program, and according to Capital, they may have even found someone. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it probably means using the bikes will be more expensive, and there’s nothing the city will be able to do about it.

Citi Bike’s potential savior is REQX Ventures, a company affiliated with the Related Companies and Equinox gym. According to Capital, a tentative deal is on the table for REQX to buy 51 percent of Alta Bike Share, which would put the venture firm in control of the system. As new owners, they’d also give the system a software upgrade over its current glitchy iteration. In exchange though, REQX will apparently be able to raise the rates for the bikes, without the approval of the city.

Capital reports there might be a “percent per-year cap” on the rate hikes in the contract REQX signs with the city, but that we’d be ceding control of the rates beyond that. Also, there’s no guarantee they expand the system, so you still won’t be able to ride a Citi Bike from say, Prospect Heights to Bushwick. Which is fine since there are already so many great ways to travel between those neighborhoods with public transportation.

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