City Announces ‘Citi Bike’

bloomberg citibike City Announces Citi BikeEarlier today, flanked by Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga, Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled the new corporate sponsors of the city’s upcoming bike share program. And, as you might expect from Mr. Banga’s presence and the program’s name, “Citi Bike,” the two sponsors will be Mastercard and Citibank.

The bikes themselves will be branded with Citibank’s logo and colors, an attribute Ms. Sadik-Khan compared to other signature hallmarks of life in New York City.

“From its yellow taxis to its landmark bridges to the Staten Island Ferry, New York is a city of transportation icons, and these signature blue Citi Bikes will be New Yorkers’ newest transportation choice,” she said in the statement announcing the new program “This exciting sponsorship will help extend the reach of our transportation network at no cost to taxpayers.”

The system will have 600 stations, but they will only be in Manhattan and Brooklyn. And, as Gothamist pointed out, the cost of the bikes is great as long as the rider stays within the 45-minute allotted window of time but quickly spirals upward. One full day of use is $10 and a year’s worth is $100, but if one takes the bike out for a few hours, the costs can quickly approach $100 for a single ride (and a lost bike is $1,000!).

At today’s press conference, Mr. Bloomberg stressed that the program won’t cost the city any money as Citibank has agreed to pay $41 million to be the title sponsor, while Mastercard agreed to chip in $6.5 million to be the system’s “exclusive payment sponsor.”

As to whether the Mayor himself will be spotted frequently using these blue bikes to get to City Hall, Mr. Bloomberg indicated it wasn’t likely, saying, “The last elected official who wore a helmet was Dukakis.”

Senator Chuck Schumer has no such fears, though.