New York may be known for its cab drivers and sprawling subway system, but now a new transportation program is being added into the mix. Citi Bikes, a bike share system that allows residents to check out a bicycle for short rides across town, has been introduced to Manhattan and Brooklyn. New Yorkers can purchase a $95 annual membership that allows them the ability to make unlimited 45 minute trips using the bikes, which can be picked up and dropped off at any of the 300 stations distributed throughout the two boroughs.
There are also 24-hour and 7-day memberships available. The goal of the system is to promote public health through exercise, alleviate traffic congestion and reduce pollution from automobiles.
Similar systems are currently in place throughout the world, in cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Paris and Boston. Although Citi Bikes has been somewhat controversial due to concerns about land use and the placement of racks in front of businesses, it also provides a clean method of transport that is becoming more convenient in a city constantly adding better biking infrastructure.
Citi Bikes is financed by Citibank, and the system is being administered by NYC Bike Share, which is a subsidiary of a larger firm called Alta Bicycle Share that performs a similar service for the bike share programs in other cities. The racks and infrastructure devoted to the Citi Bike system were manufactured by the Public Bike System Company.