Like it or spike it? Your new CitiBank bicycle

CitiBank bikes, via DamianoDeMonte.

While we’ve all been eagerly awaiting the launch of NYC’s first bike share program this summer, today’s news may flatten your tires of expectation a little bit. The city announced this morning that CitiBank will be the official sponsor of the program, brandishing its corporate logo all over the 10,000 blue bikes set to hit the streets. So the whole bike share thing is meant to be a groovy triumph of urban living, a thing you can hop on instead of so much overpriced livery cab, pedal to your destination and park it for the next biker to use, easy peesy lemon squeezy. But CitiBank hasn’t exactly been a friend to brokesters these past few years, especially not as Occupy has targeted it for perpetuating that particular brand of Big Bank Douchebaggery that defined the financial crisis. Would you ever roll up to an Occupy rally this summer on your shiny new CitiBank bike?

As Transportation Nation points out, most bike share programs do not make profits on rentals and membership, so sponsorship money is key to get this whole thing rolling. And last we checked, no credit unions have that kind of money too swing around. So dancing with the (financial) devil may be necessary to defeat that other, gas-guzzling devil.

What do you say on this thing: like it or spike it?


  1. Yeah, in a city where advertisements are few and far between this instance is a real bummer. Where’s the line, ya know? First billboards, then the subways, every major sporting event arena, bar urinal cakes, and NOW the bike share bikes? It was all well and good until this news, but this time they’ve GONE TOO FAR.

  2. I once got a free Mets winter hat at a game, but it came with a Chase logo on the back. So I just cut the logo off when I got home. Since I’m sure we’re not in the business of telling people to vandalize public property, no matter how funny I think it would be, the best thing is for everyone to just take Citi’s bikes but put their money elsewhere. Or you could get your own damn bike and paint whatever corporate logos on it you want.

  3. Sorry, I can’t get too precious about this. Let’s see, a year’s worth of bike rental for less than a monthly rental card. Two ways to pay for that: higher city taxes, or higher annual fee to participate. Or, big mean nasty bank can come along and pay for it. Sold!

  4. Conal Darcy

    Eh, I have to problem with it. I think if Citigroup wants to throw cash at this program instead of megayachts, then great. And, really, is anyone going to be swayed to open an account at Citi just because they saw it on a bicycle?

  5. Like it. I just hope I can use my WageWorks (pre-tax money for transit purchases) card for Bike share. a $95 one-year membership beats 4 months of monthly metrocards ($420)!

  6. Urban Marauder

    Bloombergs willingness to sell advertising without reponsibility or conscience is no surprise (see crumbling, leaky MTA stations with 60″ plasmas). What strikes me as odd is that lots of multinational banks with poor credit ratings (like Citi) have 41 million dollars to toss around but few have the audacity to attach their names to a program whose history is steeped in countercultural movements (Provo). The revolution may not be televised but the naming rights are definitely for sale.

  7. Hate it. Stealth Trojan Horse advertising vehicle. Another public realm lost. Plus a terrible deal for NYC taxpayers. Cost to Citi over 5 years comes to $2 per bike per day, not to mention 600 FREE ADVERTISING stands around the city. Wait, I mean Citi. What a fraud, all done without public input.

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