NYC's ambitious bike share program is finally becoming a reality! Over the weekend, workers began to install the first of the bike and docking stations around Brooklyn in preparation for the big May debut. Having forgotten what sunshine, warmth, and happiness felt like, we decided to check out a few of the new stations first-hand; click through on the photos for a close-up look.
We stopped by four stations: one in Clinton Hill and three in Bed-Stuy. On Fulton Street and Grand Avenue you'll find a 31-bike station, right next to a bus stop, which was eliciting curiosity and excitement from passersby (though at least two people seemed to think that these were just bike racks). So far the stations blend in, looking like a natural and unobtrusive addition to the streetscape. The three other stations we spotted were all by intersections with Classon Avenue. None of them had bikes yet.
The program is designed and priced for short rides, unlike bike rentals around the city that offer hourly and daily rates. A $9.95 day pass allows for an unlimited number of 30 minute rides, but any time after that you have to cough up for a late fee. An extra 30-60 minutes is $4.00, 61-90 minutes is $13.00 and each 30 minutes after an additional $12.00. (If your chosen station is full, you're given a 15 minute credit for free to take it to the next closest dock.)
An annual membership is $95. The first time you swipe for a bike a $101 charge is held on your credit card like a deposit. Lose the bike? You're out $1,000. The weird blue-ish alien pylon jutting into the air? Brooklyn Spoke explains that that is a solar pole that powers the station, allowing it to operate apart from the grid.
The DOT sent out a press release this afternoon announcing "the release of a new report documenting the intensive community process to establish CitiBike share station locations, the most extensive public consultation conducted for a single transportation project in New York City and rivaling outreach conducted for any public project in the nation." Short version: New Yorkers asked for it, don't complain, we already talked about this—were you even listening?
The city still has a long way to go to complete the installation of 293 stations and 5,500 bikes in time for the May debut, but chances are you'll see these popping up soon. For more on the CitiBike, visit their website.