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5 things about NYC’s new bike share program that seriously stump us


citibikeWe’re really excited about CitiBike, the new bike-share system that’s set to launch this July and will literally transform the city landscape.

Cycling culture has been exploding over the past year, and this is just one more way that New York City is becoming a healthier (and greener) place to live.

But, after reviewing some of the specifics about CitiBike, we came up with more than a couple of logistical questions about how the new system will work.

Here are five things that seriously stump us about Citibike:

Add yours in the Comments, below, or, if you have answers, add those too!

1. You can only ride for 30 or 45 minutes before accruing late fees. There goes your leisurely ride up the East River bike path. Bike share is supposed to ease the stress of commuting, but we can’t help but picture frazzled New Yorkers zig-zagging dangerously through bike lanes in order to dock their bikes on time. Thank god the bikes don’t have horns.

2. The cheapest thing you can buy is a 24-hour pass, for $9.95. Since you’ll have to check in every 30 minutes at a docking station, you can’t pay for just 30 minutes? If you purchase a $95 annual pass, you’re good to go. If not, you’ve got to shell out for a full day (in which case, depending on where you’re going, a taxi may be cheaper).

3. There are no bikes in Astoria. Okay, this one is totally biased because the writer of this article might reside in said neighborhood. That being said, it really does look like an oversight. CitiBike says that in order for the system to succeed, it has to be centered around Manhattan’s Central Business District, with docking stations in densely-populated areas. That explains ignoring the Bronx (sort of) and Far Rockaway, for example, but Astoria is one of the closest neighborhoods to Midtown Manhattan.

4. We haven’t seen any construction. The Second Avenue subway won’t be done until we’re too old to climb the stairs, but CitiBike says it will be up and running in July, despite no signs of construction. We really hope that a magic bike fairy is going to drop 600 docking stations onto their designated spots without a glitch one night while we’re asleep. That would be awesome.

5. The cost to replace a bike is $1,000. Bikes are expensive, we get it. But $1,000 for a mass-produced version? Plan on toting yet another bag on the subway to carry your heavy lock. —Lisa Elaine Held