New York City's massive new bike share program is inching ever closer to its July debut. To that end, the city just announced not only the name of the program's $41 million sponsor (Citibank) but also the program's official name (CitiBike, of course) and, most important of all, the exact pricing for the program. And if you were thinking of joining up in order to go on bicycle weekend trips to City Island...sounds like you'll be better off just buying your own bike. When they say these bikes are meant for short three miles-ish trips, they mean it—the system gives members unlimited free rides for short trips, but the pricing skyrockets as sand falls through the hourglass.
Here's the pricing breakdown for CitiBike:
For short rides the pricing is pretty great, we admit, but once you stay out for a little bit the costs really start going up. If, for instance, you were to just show up in town and join CitiBike for a single four-hour ride that would cost you $86.95 (that's $9.95 for 24-hour access, plust $25 for the first two hours and $52 for an additional two hours). Still, as the city points out, 54 percent of trips taken in the city are under two miles. We guess this aggressive pricing is a way to give some of those bike rental guys near Central Park a chance to survive.
Worried that you'll get charged for going over half-an-hour when a rack was full? Don't be! If a rack is full, you can select 'time credit' on it for a 15 minute bike credit (along with directions to a rack with empty space). Different racks, which are not on the utility grid and can be "installed in minutes," can handle between 15 and 60 bikes. And you definitely want to return those bikes: the charge for a lost bike is $1,000.
Next up for CitiBike? Announcing the locations for the initial 600 racks around the city (locations have already been previewed to a number of Community Boards).