Citi Hike: Bike share rate increase on the table

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Look, these mobile ads aren’t paying for themselves. Photo by Mary Dorn

If there’s been one real problem with bike share in New York so far, it’s definitely not that the system is too small to be that effective outside of a section of Manhattan, it’s not that the two stations near the Brokelyn home offices are inexplicably empty all the time and it’s not that it’s not that the system has no timetable to expand. It’s that somehow, the system isn’t making any money. So, finally, the Department of Transportation is finally stepping in to fix that, with commissioner Polly Trottenberg telling the City Council that a rate increase isn’t out of the question to get the service up to profitability.

At ten dollars for a day pass, you’d hope that the bikes/rolling advertisement for banksters would be profitable by now, but that isn’t the case. CBS reports that Trottenberg told the City Council that since the Citi Bike program hasn’t been profitable yet, the DOT is looking into ways to fix that, including a possible rate hike. New York City’s bike share system, with 6,000 bikes, 330 stations and the aforementioned $10 day passes, is already the largest and most expensive bike share system in North America, so we’ve got to stay ahead of any challengers in at least one of those factors. And it’s easiest to raise prices.

Trottenberg didn’t tell the council this, but it could just be that Citi Bike is trying to fit in with the MTA and its bi-annual rate hikes At the moment, bike share doesn’t get any public money, which the City Council suggested to Trottenberg, but she said the DOT isn’t ready to move that way yet. That echoes the position taken by policy director Jon Orcutt last year at a contentious bike share meeting, when he announced that there would be zero subsidies for the system, and that if it dies, it dies.

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