FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release #14-087
October 28, 2014
Scott Gastel/Bonny Tsang, (212) 839-4850
NYC DOT, Alta and Citi Announce Agreement to Expand and Enhance Citi Bike Program in New York City
New Firm and Management to Double the Size of the Nation’s Largest Bike Share System to at Least 12,000 Bikes at 700 Stations and in More Neighborhoods by 2017
Jay Walder, former MTA Chairman and CEO, to Serve as Incoming CEO of Alta
New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, Alta Bicycle Share incoming CEO Jay Walder, and Citi Executive Vice President for Global Public Affairs Edward Skyler today announced an agreement between the City of New York and Alta Bicycle Share to operate, improve, and double the size of the largest bike share program in North America. A $30 million infusion of private capital from Bikeshare Holdings LLC, a group of private investors acquiring Alta, supported by an increased sponsorship commitment from Citi of up to $70.5 million extended through 2024, and a $15 million increase in the credit facility from the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group will allow for the expansion and ensure the long-term stability of the system, making it more reliable and accessible for the thousands of New Yorkers who rely upon it. New Yorkers currently take more than one million trips every month on Citi Bike.
The Citi Bike system, which will continue to be operated by NYC Bike Share (NYCBS), a subsidiary of Alta, will be expanded from the current system of 330 stations and 6,000 bikes to over 700 stations and 12,000 bikes by the end of 2017. Citi Bike will stretch further out into Brooklyn, into Harlem, and bring bikes to Queens for the first time.
The agreement with the City also calls for service enhancements to the system’s operations for Citi Bike’s tens of thousands of riders, including upgrades to the software and technology that helps operate the bike share system.
These enhancements will be made possible by the investment from Bikeshare Holdings LLC, a newly-formed venture of individuals that include Harvey Spevak, CEO of Equinox®, Jeff Blau, CEO of Related Companies, and Jonathan Schulhof, a private investor who led the transaction. Bikeshare Holdings has entered into an agreement to acquire Alta and recruited Jay Walder, the former Chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and an internationally-renowned leader in public transit, to serve as the incoming CEO of Alta.
The system will continue to operate as a privately funded program and Citi has agreed to increase its sponsorship contribution by $70.5 million dollars and extend it through 2024 while the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group has increased and extended its loan facility to help fund the program’s enhancement and expansion. The expansion was also made possible by a $5 million investment from The Partnership Fund for New York City to Bikeshare Holdings LLC to support the program’s growth into underserved communities in Brooklyn, Queens and Upper Manhattan.
“This is about delivering the bike share program New Yorkers expect and deserve. We believe in Citi Bike’s potential as a fixture of New York City’s public transit system. It can make our neighborhoods more accessible, help us achieve our sustainability goals, and bridge inequities in our transportation network. To achieve all that, bike share has to be reliable and responsive to community’s needs. Today, after tremendous efforts across our administration, we can say we have the management and the support in place to fulfill that mission. It’s a good day for New Yorkers who rely on Citi Bike, and for neighborhoods and riders that have eagerly awaited its expansion,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“We have worked hard these last ten months to get Citi Bike on track for the long-term,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “New Yorkers deserve a system that’s more reliable and convenient, that reaches more neighborhoods and that remains affordable. This new partnership puts bike share on solid footing, and today riders can have confidence that bike share is going to get bigger and better.”
Incoming Alta CEO Jay Walder said, “Citi Bike has been a tremendous success and I am thrilled to be joining the bike share revolution. Bike sharing has become such an important ingredient of urban life. With the backing of a deeply committed private investment group, and a seasoned leadership team, we will not only grow Citi Bike, but we will also improve and enhance operations and software reliability. We look forward to working with all stakeholders to realize our collective vision for this healthy, green, convenient and now expanded transportation network.”
Jay Walder, a proven leader and experienced executive, will bring to Alta and Citi Bike extensive international experience in the public transportation business, which includes 30 years working in rail, property, and infrastructure in the United States and internationally. Most recently, Mr. Walder was the Chief Executive Officer of MTR Corporation in Hong Kong. Previously, he was the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in New York.
“Citi Bike has become an integral and eye-catching part of the fabric of New York City and we are proud to support its expansion,” said Citi Executive Vice President for Global Public Affairs Edward Skyler. “Our goal in sponsoring the program has been to promote healthy, sustainable living and help create a new transportation network in our hometown. Citi Bike has exceeded our expectations and the expanded program will have an even greater impact going forward.”
“We are pleased to have invested in Citi Bike from the very start with a $41 million loan and even more excited to lend an additional $15 million as the program reaches its full potential and better serves New Yorkers,” said Margaret Anadu, Managing Director in the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group. “Partnering with Citi, DOT, and Alta on this expansion will create even more quality jobs and allow previously unserved communities to have access to this improved green and affordable transportation option.”
“Citi Bike is the most affordable aspect of our mass transit system and the Partnership Fund is committed to bringing this great resource to more neighborhoods in the city,” said Maria Gotsch, President and CEO of the Partnership Fund for New York City. “We’re not only curbing carbon emissions and promoting a healthy lifestyle, but investing in the improvement of our city’s transportation infrastructure while spurring economic growth throughout the boroughs.”
The rate for an annual program membership, also for unlimited 45 minute rides, will become $149. This change is necessary to provide world-class service for this hugely popular and well-used system, making it financially viable for the long-term. The price change will go into effect at a date to be announced shortly. Citi Bike is also exploring possible weekend, monthly and tourist membership.
Residents of the NYC Housing Authority and members of select Community Development Credit Unions will still be eligible for discounted Citi Bike memberships for $60 a year.
Under the terms of the agreement the Citi Bike service area will expand in Manhattan into Harlem, as well as into Astoria, Long Island City, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Bushwick, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, Red Hook, Gowanus, and more of Bedford-Stuyvesant.
This builds out the existing service area, which includes Manhattan below 59th Street, Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant, parts of Williamsburg, Clinton Hill, Fort Greene and DUMBO neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The expansion, which will begin in 2015, will commence in Long Island City, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, and the rest of Bedford-Stuyvesant.
The City hopes to expand the program to include additional neighborhoods in the future. The further expansion will require additional financing, and the Department of Transportation will work closely with stakeholders to make those plans feasible.
“Today’s announcement is a great win for all New Yorkers because we have been able to successfully expand the city’s bike share program. The expansion will now serve transit starved communities like Red Hook, Brooklyn where there is no direct subway service and only one bus route. This deal also brings new software to the entire system, which will improve the user experience and accessibility for riders. Going forward, we must not forget to expand this great program into more neighborhoods in the outer boroughs,” said Public Advocate Letitia James.
“I am glad to hear that Bike Share will be receiving a new influx of funding to improve its software and expand to more neighborhoods, especially in Manhattan,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Even with an increase in annual membership, I hope more New Yorkers will be using the city’s secure bike paths, riding in the parks and commuting in a healthy fashion. With expansion, Bike Share can become the full service transportation option that was envisioned.”
“The expansion of the City’s bike share program into Long Island City will provide our borough’s residents and visitors with an additional way to get around that will be convenient, environmentally-friendly and fun and will make Queens an even more attractive place to live, work and visit.” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “I commend Mayor de Blasio and his administration and all of those involved with Citi Bike for bringing this much-needed new transportation option to Queens.”
“Increased connectivity is fundamental to the growth and development of our city and I’m thrilled to learn of the expansion of our bike sharing system and its arrival to Western Queens,” said Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx). “It’s imperative that we continue to make these types of investments to meet the needs of those communities that have long been underserved by viable transportation options. That’s why I’ve also introduced my Bike to Work Act that would allow workers to also use their pre-tax commuter benefits for bike sharing programs like Citi Bike. The addition of these new Citi Bike stations will not only provide affordable options for commuters but it also promotes health and wellness among New Yorkers while easing our impact on the environment.”
“I am thrilled that CitiBike is expanding into Queens,” said New York City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “I’ve been pushing to have bike share in Western Queens for years and now the dream has become a reality. Long Island City has always wanted this valuable transportation option which will literally put our neighborhoods and attractions on the map for millions. Citi Bike will bring more people to the neighborhoods and ease travel to other parts of the City for those who live here. I’m proud to cycle, proud to be a founding member of Citi Bike and proud to help bring this great program to Queens. I applaud Mayor de Blasio and DOT Commissioner Trottenberg for working with Related to save and enhance this valuable program.”
“This deal will ensure that Citi Bike will move beyond the many issues that have plagued its implementation,” said Transportation Chairman Ydanis Rodriguez. “I praise the Administration for their hard work and commitment in reaching this deal and know that with this infusion of capital, Citi Bike will be one step closer to fulfilling its potential. I look forward to working hand in hand with the Administration to ensure Citi Bike’s continued expansion into Northern Manhattan and the outer boroughs.”
“The expansion of New York City’s bike share program is truly something to celebrate, said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. Cycling is healthy for individuals, for families and for communities & the more cyclists join the party, the safer we all become. Although a price hike is always difficult to swallow, maintaining this program and expanding the fleet are critical and the new pricing, with discounts for New Yorkers with fewer economic resources, will keep this program healthy. I look forward to seeing many more stations and more bike share users on city streets in 2015.
“The deal announced today is great news for New Yorkers, said Council Member Brad Lander. “It will make our bike share network stronger and more robust and a viable option for even more residents, which will benefit our city as a whole by getting even more travelers off our crowded subways and out of cars, and this expansion will push the network further into underserved communities as well.”`
“Over the past year, I have been thrilled to see Citi Bike welcomed as an alternative mode of transportation by many New Yorkers. This new expansion of Citi Bike will both stabilize its finances and bring it to neighborhoods that are hungry for bike share,” said Council Member Mark Levine. “The initial rollout of the program left low-income neighborhoods underrepresented and I’m extremely pleased the deal includes steps to rectify that. As my district and many of the others to be added have a large NYCHA population, it’s absolutely critical that the $60 affordable rate was locked in. And as someone who opened a federal credit union in Washington Heights to create banking opportunities for low-income residents, I’m also thrilled that the affordable rate will be accessible through additional federal credit unions and I look forward to working with DOT to make sure as many as possible are included.”
“The expansion of Citi Bike to some neighborhoods in the outer boroughs is an accomplishment for communities who live and work outside of the principal transportation catchment areas. Biking as a transportation alternative raises issues around environmental equity, access to transportation as a right, and quality of life. In that spirit, we have been looking legislatively at the significance of bike-share programs and, perhaps even more importantly, at how New York City can facilitate program expansions by investing in biking infrastructure like bike lanes, and bike safety campaigns, throughout the five boroughs. In neighborhoods that are transportation starved–like Red Hook and Sunset Park—non-traditional alternatives become essential to the functioning of community. I am heartened by the possibilities that this initial expansion presents to our City,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca.
“I am pleased to hear that this vital piece of our public transportation system will be expanding into more neighborhoods, and look forward to the day that it will expand citywide,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “However, I am concerned about the plan to increase the cost of membership, and hope that Bike Share Holdings LLC will continue to offer membership discounts to NYCHA residents and other New Yorkers in need.”
“I am very excited to see the bike share program grow, as was always the plan, and I am eager for the UWS to be considered as a site,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal.
“Out of the gate the bike share program was a success. It only makes sense to expand the program especially in the proposed areas of my district. And to ensure the continued success of the bike share, I’m pleased to see that the suggest a station online portal will be available again. I commend Mayor de Blasio for remaining committed to this program and to the New Yorkers that have made it the success that it is,” said State Senator Martin Malavé Dilan.
“Citi Bike has quickly become an integral part of our transit network,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron. “Today’s expansion means more people and more neighborhoods — including North Brooklyn in my district — will have more decent options to get around. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Trottenberg, and their partners for growing this successful program.”
“I look forward to the Citi Bike program’s arrival to Greenpoint and Williamsburg in the coming year. The quickly growing population in my district needs all the modes of transportation they can get. I fully anticipate that this expansion of Citi Bike to my district will be done with the community’s input on where docking stations should be located. I have consistently found that local neighborhoods know their area better than anyone and can offer suggestions that end up being well accepted by everyone,” said Assembly Member Joseph R. Lentol.
“Alternative transportation in New York City has grown exponentially in the past decade and I am pleased to see the reduction of carbon admission by the decreased dependency on fossil fuel based motor vehicles. I applauded the Mayor’s initiative to not only secure the financial feasibility of the New York City bike-sharing program, but also expand it to historically underserved communities. I hope we can continue to move our city towards being a truly green city,” Assembly Member Walter T. Mosley.
“I applaud Mayor deBlasio’s expansion of New York City’s Bicycle Sharing program,” said Assembly Member Felix W. Ortiz. “New York will be able to provide 12,000 bicycles to the public by the end of 2017, an increase of 50%. Mayor deBlasio’s initiative will enhance bicycle riding by expanding to neighborhoods including Red Hook and making bicycles more affordable to local residents. The Mayor again is demonstrating his commitment to reduce emissions and expand alternate means of transportation.”
“This agreement to double the size of the bike share system will help Citi Bike begin to meet the demand we’ve seen coming from communities all over the city,” said Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White. “Bringing bike share into more neighborhoods will help greater numbers of New Yorkers choose bicycling as an everyday form of transportation. Keeping the $60-per-year Affordability rate and introducing a new monthly membership will make the system more accessible. New York City Bike Share’s software and equipment upgrades, along with DOT’s outreach and “Suggest a Station” portal, will give more communities a stake in Citi Bike’s future.”
Harvey Spevak, a principal of Bikeshare Holdings LLC and CEO of Equinox® said, “We are passionate about businesses and initiatives that enhance health and wellness and are excited about the expansion and enhancement of Citi Bike. With new capital and resources and the leadership of Jay Walder, we look forward to introducing an even broader and enhanced Citi Bike experience to new riders and new neighborhoods.”
Jeff Blau, a principal of Bikeshare Holdings LLC and CEO of Related Companies said, “We are deeply committed to enhancing urban life and enthusiastic about taking Citi Bike to the next level with increased stability, reliability and operational capacity. It is already widely popular in New York City and we look forward to enhancing every aspect of the customer service platform utilizing best-in-class technology and new partnerships.”
“I think this is a great opportunity for the Queensbridge, and Long Island City community, because it promotes healthy living, as well as another option to get around our City. I am also pleased that the price for NYCHA residents will remain the same, giving all New Yorkers and opportunity to enjoy this much needed service. I’m excited and welcome this in our community,” said April L. Simpson, President Queensbridge Tenants.
Citi Bike has proven hugely popular, serving upwards of 40,000 people per day through the spring, summer and fall. Citi Bike currently has over 90,000 annual members and more than 641,000 short-term passes have been used. Since launch, Citi Bike riders have taken over 14 million trips and have ridden over 25 million miles.
The expansion is expected to create a significant number of new jobs in New York City. New York City Bike Share LLC has committed to instituting local recruiting initiatives and offering skills training. All jobs will pay at or above living wage. In addition, Alta is relocating and consolidating its corporate headquarters in New York City.
DOT will continue its outreach efforts to the neighborhoods included in the proposed expansion as part of the specific site selection process. The first installment of the program rollout included a multi-year outreach process, which included over 400 meetings with Community Boards, elected officials, civic associations, property owners and community institutions. New Yorkers will again be able to suggest a new Citi Bike rack location at nyc.gov/bikeshare as DOT re-opens ‘Suggest a Station” siting portal.
There have been no fatalities or serious injuries to Citi Bike riders in the nearly 14 million trips made on the system since its launch. The system continues to promote safe riding with rules of the road displayed on the handlebars of each bike. The Department of Transportation distributes free bike helmets at events across the city and continues to encourage their use.