As New York City gears up for a June 8th Phase 1 reopening, Citi Bike is also preparing for that reopening by increasing its fleet of pedal-assist electric-powered bikes.

“We continue to increase the number of e-bikes and will have thousands on the street by the end of the summer,” said Alex Rafter of Citi Bike.

Last year, the entire 1,000 e-bike fleet was abruptly pulled from service following a braking issue that sent some riders flying off their two-wheelers. In February this year, Citi Bike re-introduced the e-bikes after hardware upgrades and has said it hopes e-bikes will eventually constitute about a third of its overall fleet.

For now, the e-bikes continue to be coveted yet elusive addition to the fleet of nearly 15,000 bikes. Jeanmarie Davis, a Windsor Terrace resident, said she’s been having trouble securing an e-bike in the system, counting about 20 available bikes in a large swath of central Brooklyn on a Saturday morning.

“I'm an older woman. So, you know, I'm not like a bike fanatic," said Davis, 57, who wants to eventually be able to bike to her office in downtown Manhattan instead of using mass transit. "So the e-bike makes it easier for me to use it for work.”

Meanwhile, the overall system is undergoing an expansion to double the coverage area (currently at 900 stations in four boroughs) and to triple the number of bikes from the 14,500 current inventory, Citi Bike said. The company added stations in Harlem and the Bronx last month.

During the New York State coronavirus PAUSE, Citi Bike’s ridership went down sharply and has slowly resumed.

In March this year, the system had 1,086,481 rides, a 20 percent decrease compared to March 2019, which logged 1,351,729 rides. For April, the decline was dramatic -- the system had 677,497 rides, a 60 percent decrease compared to April 2019, which logged 1,735,452 rides.

This month ridership is steadily returning to normal levels, with ridership nearly 70 percent of May 2019 levels, according to Citi Bike data.

On one recent Saturday this month, there were more than 80,000 rides, which Citi Bike said is close to its all-time system high of 100,000 rides that happened on a Saturday in September 2019.

While ridership is down, Citi Bike says the number of active users is at its highest level -- largely driven by 18,000 free memberships offered to critical workers.

The busiest Citi Bike docking stations during the pandemic have been located near hospitals. Citi Bike’s data showed the most popular docking station since the first week of April is the one located at First Avenue and 68th Street, near three hospitals: New York Presbyterian, Memorial Sloan Kettering, and Weill Cornell Medical Center. Before the pandemic, the most popular docking station was located outside Grand Central Terminal, while the First Avenue and 68th Street docking station was the 31st most popular station.

Citi Bike’s operator Lyft revealed last month they will lay off 17 percent of its staff, totaling nearly 1,000 employees, as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, including Citi Bike staffers.