Citi Bike Encounters Financial Trouble
Laura Kusisto, Eliot Brown, and Andrew Tangel share the distressing news about the financial situation of Citi Bike, New York City’s bikeshare program. Although few details are available, here’s what has been reported so far:
- “The program's leaders have approached officials in Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration about raising Citi Bike's rates…”
- “One issue is that Citi Bike has proved more popular than expected with annual users who generate comparatively little revenue. Some 99,000 people pay $95 a year plus tax to be able to use the bikes for 45 minutes at a time.”
- “The potential for far greater revenue, however, is with short-term users. Many of those were expected to be tourists, and they haven't used the bikes nearly as much as officials had anticipated, people familiar with the matter said.” According to the article, “managers don't believe it can survive if it doesn't become more appealing to tourists and expand to new neighborhoods.”
- Finding additional sponsors has proved challenging because the program has become so closely associated with its eponymous supporter, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The article has a lot more information and analysis of Citi Bike’s financial situation, including a discussion of whether Alta Bicycle Share, the company that runs Citi Bike through a subsidiary, will have to seek public money to stay afloat. So far, it seems, the program has only requested permission from the city to raise rates.