Press Releases

Press Release #11-75

Contact: Seth Solomonow (212) 839-4850

NYC DOT Announces Selection of Alta to Launch Privately Funded Bike Share System, Giving New Yorkers a New Low-Cost Transportation Option

City will launch extensive community outreach process to discuss system and potential station locations, will host demonstration events, open houses and workshops

Alta to launch search for major sponsors to operate system without taxpayer subsidy, creating 200 jobs and sharing profits with the City

System will provide unlimited short-duration free rides with low-cost annual membership

New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson today announced the selection of Alta Bicycle Share, Inc. to develop and operate a privately funded bike share system in New York City, the first step in the process of bringing a low-cost and accessible 24-hour transportation option to New Yorkers. Alta was selected through a competitive RFP process which evaluated various proposals in order to get the best arrangement for New York City. The system will not use taxpayer money and Alta will enter into a revenue sharing agreement with the City for all system profits while creating an estimated 200 jobs. The New York City bike share system will launch in 2012 following an extensive public outreach process that will give community and business leaders an opportunity to participate in a public dialogue about where to site approximately 600 bike stations holding 10,000 bikes. The Commissioner and Deputy Mayor made the announcement at Madison Square Plaza, joined by Alta President and CEO Alison Cohen; Council Members Gale Brewer, Letitia James and Brad Lander; Partnership for New York City President and CEO Kathy Wylde; Working Families Party Executive Director Dan Cantor; foursquare cofounder Dennis Crowley; Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White; Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration President and CEO Colvin W. Grannum; Crown Heights Youth Collective CEO Richard Greene; and Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Executive Director Jennifer Brown. 

“With bike share, we’re reinventing the wheel by providing an affordable transportation option that’s there when you want it” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “Whether it’s covering the last quarter mile from the subway or reaching that dead zone between stations, bike share offers a great, new way to get around in a new york minute and will bring needed jobs and revenue to the city. “

“Bike share is about choices for New Yorkers,” said Deputy Mayor for Government Affairs and Communications Howard Wolfson. “In New York City, you should be able to walk, take the subway, drive, take a bus or bike safely, economically, and efficiently. Bike share offers a practical and cost-effective option that generates revenue for the City. It's a choice that is a win for both the City and its residents.”

“As our city continues to grow, it is crucial that we extend the public transit network and provide New Yorkers with more affordable transportation options,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel. “Bike share programs like the one we are announcing today have been highly successful in world-class cities around the country and the world.”

"We could not be more excited to bring our successful bike share system to New York City," said Alison Cohen, President of Alta Bicycle Share. "Bike share is a new form of public transportation that will help connect New Yorkers to their own neighborhoods, to other neighborhoods and to public transit. At the same time, it will make NYC a healthier, cleaner, greener and safer place. Alta Bicycle Share is elated to help make this happen.”

The New York City bike share system will launch in 2012 and will include approximately 10,000 bikes distributed at 600 stations in parts of Manhattan as well as in neighborhoods spanning northwest Brooklyn at locations determined in consultation with community boards, elected officials and local stakeholders. Options for additional stations in other boroughs are also being explored.

“Bike share represents another major commitment by our city to move New Yorkers toward being a greener city,” said Council Member Gale A. Brewer. “Everybody knows that when you are out on your bike, you are more likely to purchase at local businesses and use local services, and bike share provides an opportunity for tourists to get around the city faster, easier and more enjoyably. Other cities operate bike share, and neighbors and visitors alike use the bikes. As Bike Share rolls out in our city, we must prioritize education on rules of the road for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers to improve safety for all.”

"Public bike sharing is a great opportunity for the City to continue moving in a greener direction through expanding mobility options for NYC residents; the initiative also promotes a healthy lifestyle,” said Council Member Letitia James. “Also, new jobs will be created through the NYC Bike Share program, along with an increase in revenue for the City, which should make bicycle sharing a win-win program all around."

“I'm looking very forward to the day when my Brooklyn constituents—and their friends and families and guests—can hop on one of NYC's bike-share bikes to get to work, to school, to the subway, or to one of our great parks,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “This is a great step forward toward a more livable, sustainable, safe, and, well, fun New York City.”

“Mobility and convenience are important parts of a city’s business climate,” said Kathy Wylde,” President and CEO of Partnership for New York City. “New York must not only keep up with new transportation applications, but add its own innovations as well.  I am confident that this team will give us the world’s best bike share program.”

“There are so many people in the city beyond an easy walk to the subway—an affordable, convenient option like bike share is a no-brainer for New York,” said Dan Cantor, Working Families Party Executive Director.

"Innovative programs like bike share make New York one of the best places in the world to start and grow a business,” said foursquare cofounder Dennis Crowley. “An increasing number of our employees are biking work every day, so it's great to see the city supporting the NYC biking community in such a big way.”

“Bike share will strengthen the vibrant street life that defines New York City and harness the convenience of the bicycle for short trips,” Said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives.

“Given our mounting traffic congestion and resulting impact on the public's health, it is time to be creative about the use of alternative transportation, especially our growing use of the bicycle,” said Luis Garden Acosta, Founder and President of El Puente.

“Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation is eager to facilitate the implementation of Bike Share in Bedford-Stuyvesant,” said Colvin W. Grannum, President/CEO Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. “We see innumerable benefits to local business and individual health. Local streets are likely to be less congested which should facilitate local residents in navigating community thoroughfares more easily and patronizing more local business.  Bike Share will assist local residents in increasing their levels of fitness while staying connected to the sights, sounds and experiences of the local streets.”

“The greater availability of biking as a transportation option will yield even greater dividends for New York City’s environment and the health of everyone who lives here,” said Crown Heights Youth Collective CEO Richard Greene.

Bike share will offer New Yorkers a new public transportation option, filling gaps in the transit system with a network of durable bikes available at self-service stations located every few blocks in the service area. New Yorkers and visitors can pick up a bike at any station, ride to their destination, dropping off the bike at the nearest available station. Bikes will be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and smartphone apps will make use of the system’s wireless technology, allowing giving users real-time information about bike and station availability.

Alta will be responsible for all system operations, including installation, maintenance, repairs, cleaning and customer support, and approximately 200 jobs will be created for New Yorkers by locally sourcing maintenance and support for the system. New York City’s bike share stations will be solar-powered, requiring no cumbersome roadwork for installation. Alta anticipates that sponsorship will be a key component of the system’s financing and has launched its process to select a system sponsor. Additional information for interested potential sponsors is available at:

Membership in New York’s bike share system will be affordable, with an annual membership costing less than $100—less than a monthly unlimited-ride Metro Card. Day and with weekly memberships also available. Membership will entitle users to unlimited number of free short duration trips, potentially as long as 45 minutes, while longer trips will be charged according to a small, graduated usage fee. Exact rates will be determined after a contract is finalized.

The selected design is well-tested, carefully engineered to minimize theft and vandalism, and has received numerous design awards. Bike share infrastructure and technology has been extensively tested in a wide variety of several American and international cities, including Washington DC, London, Boston, Denver, Montreal, Toronto and Minneapolis. Each successive city has added new innovations, such as individualized bicycle parts and GPS tracking, to improve customer service and deter theft.

Alta’s selection as the system operator also marks the beginning of an extensive community outreach process to craft a system that meets New York City’s unique transportation needs. DOT will organize public workshops in each community board so that system planning is collaborative and participatory. Anyone can participate by suggesting a station location on our interactive siting map at  Working closely with community boards, neighborhood institutions and businesses, property owners, and other stakeholders, Alta, DOT and local partners will host demonstration events, open houses and workshops throughout the City. New Yorkers are encouraged to attend to test out bike share bikes and provide feedback on how bike share will work best for them. In addition, DOT is launching a new online Web portal where New Yorkers can find information about upcoming events, offer suggestions and receive instant updates. Information about the upcoming community engagement process is also available at:

The following demonstration events are scheduled:

Saturday, 9/17: DUMBO/Manhattan Bridge Arch, Brooklyn. 12-4 p.m.

Wednesday, 9/21: Bowling Green, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Saturday, 9/24: Brooklyn Flea, Ft. Greene, Brooklyn, 12-4 p.m.

Thursday, 9/29: Union Square 12- 6 p.m.

Sunday, 10/2: Atlantic Antic (Atlantic Avenue) 12-6 p.m.

Other facts about bike share:

  • Bike share is a great transportation option for short trips that are too far to walk but too short for a cab or subway ride.
  • New Yorkers make many short trips that could easily made by bike:
    • 40% of all trips are under one mile
    • 54% of all trips are under two miles
    • 67% of all trips are under three miles
  • Bike share improves access to the subway, leveraging the City’s investment in transit and bike networks.
  • The program would allow New Yorkers access to bikes without worrying about bike parking, bike storage or theft.
  • In advance of the system’s launch, New Yorkers will have many chances to test out the bikes and equipment at public demonstrations and to provide their input on station locations.
  • New York City’s streets are the safest in recorded history. Driver and pedestrian injury rates have fallen. Cycling injury and fatality rates have fallen or remained flat at the same time as the number of cyclists has more than doubled.
  • The bike share bikes and equipment that will be used in New York City is also in use in London, Montreal, Toronto, and Minneapolis, as well as in Alta’s systems in Washington D.C., Boston and Melbourne.