Lyft Buys Citi Bike, Plans Electronic Bike Expansion
The Citi Bike presence in North Brooklyn and New York City as a whole will continue to grow at a time when the program’s parent company Motivate will be acquired by ride-sharing company Lyft, in a plan that includes a $100 million investment by Lyft over the next five years, the Mayor’s office announced last week.
A statement from the office of Mayor Bill de Blasio explains that the investment by Lyft will repair the existing 12,000 Citi bikes and expand the fleet of both regular and electronic pedal assist bikes to 40,000 while doubling the current service area. Although the ‘vast majority’ (around 30,000) of the new Citi bikes will be electronic, Gothamist reports. NYC lawmakers introduced a bill to legalize e-scooters and pedal assist bikes last week, but Mayor de Blasio said he’s “seeing too many problems” with e-bikes, referring to the complaints his office receives over the handle grip throttle e-bikes that are popular with food delivery workers.
The new service area will be expanded by over 35 square miles, and low-income NYC residents who are NYCHA residents or SNAP recipients will also have access to a $5 per month membership plan provided by Healthfirst.
Motivate will be rebranded as ‘Lyft Bikes’ when Lyft takes over the bike-sharing contracts in NYC and seven other U.S. cities in the coming months. The bike share program is seen as a partial remedy for the forthcoming L train shutdown beginning spring 2019, and pedal assist bikes could help riders traverse the Williamsburg Bridge with greater ease.
“I am very pleased to see that the Citi Bike program will be expanded throughout New York City,” NYC Council Member Antonio Reynoso said in the statement. “Citi Bike is an environmentally responsible, convenient, and affordable transportation alternative, and its expansion will bolster our City’s efforts to reduce car usage and its adverse impacts. Lyft’s expanded investment in the $5 monthly bike share memberships will ensure that the Citi Bike program remains equitable and accessible to all New Yorkers regardless of socio-economic status.”
The details of the expansion have not been revealed, but it’s likely Citi bike access will expand to areas including East Williamsburg and far reaches of South Brooklyn.