Bikes can be pulled from docks like this one.
New York City is currently testing a new program called CitiBike which allows a person to rent a bicycle at one of the various bike docks and ride to another dock to drop it off. Its a fantastic idea, one that has already reduced commuter traffic in NYC by encouraging people to bike instead of cab to their jobs.
Citibike is the largest bike sharing program in the country and is sponsored by Citibank which poured in $41 million to kickstart the program. There are 6000 bicycles today and there are plans to expand it to more than 10,000 by the end of the year.
Riders pay either yearly or weekly to access the program which provides them with a key to unlock a bike from any of the 600 docks located throughout Manhattan.
The program isn’t without its issues however. Some people have been complaining of DockBlocking which happens when the dock where you drop off your bike is completely full. This means you need to ride many blocks past your destination to find another dock where you can drop off your bike and stop the meter.
This program reminds me of Car to Go which allows one to rent a car from one of the many parking spots and drop it off in another spot. I’ve used Car to Go and it is pretty fantastic. I could see something like Citibike also being successful especially when you consider the tourist traffic to the various downtown attractions.
Citibikers have traveled a total of 1.5 million miles since the programs inception in May of this year with about 30,000 miles ridden each day. Pretty freaking awesome.
Update: Check out the map below from this New Yorker article.
Here is a usage map of a month of Citibike. Darker circles mean more usage.