Sorry, Zipcars. There's a New Set of Wheels in Town.
The concept of bike sharing has long been embraced throughout European metropolitan cities. Take London, for instance. Since its launch in 2010, Barclays Cycle Hire program has proven to be a huge success, with more than 21 million cycle hires as of April 2013. The bikes revolutionized transportation in London, prompting Londoners to cycle and break a sweat, instead of sitting on four wheels.
Finally, this concept is starting to get picked up in the United States. Citi Bike, for example, launched in New York City in May 2013. The city partnered with Citibank and is now providing thousands of public sharing bikes in hundreds of stations throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn.
How does it work? Very much like the Zipcars. The bikes are locked into a network of docking stations across the city. You can rent a bike and then return it to a different station across town.Like the Subway, Citi Bikes are available 24 hours. But instead of sitting stationary on the metro, you'll burn calories while you travel to your destination.
The bikes are also a great transportation option for the New Yorker on a budget: $9.95 gets you a 24-hour access pass, which beats paying for a cab.
Citi Bikes offer a nice option for tourists visiting the Big Apple too. You can have that deep dish pizza guilt-free, and burn the calories off as you cycle to your next adventure. If you like sweets, imagine being able to bike to Carlo's Bakery, of TLC's “Cake Boss", and enjoy one of those famous cannoli. Bottom line, if you pick the healthier transportation option, you get the luxury of having your cake and eating it too (in moderation, of course).
Hopefully Citi Bikes is just the beginning, and this new trend of healthy public transportation is embraced and encouraged across the nation.