Struggling Citi Bike gets no handout — for now

Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Friday that the city won't use tax money to boost a struggling Citi Bike program. Credit: Oran Viriyincy/Flickr
Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Friday that the city won’t use tax money to boost a struggling Citi Bike program.
Credit: Oran Viriyincy/Flickr

Even as the ledger behind the recognizable blue-hued bikes is bleeding red, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Friday that the city won’t use tax money to boost a struggling Citi Bike program.

At an unrelated press conference, de Blasio said that while his administration values the bike share program launched last year, the city will only commit to help — from a distance.

“They do have real economic challenges that they’re facing,” de Blasio told reporters. “Our transportation commissioner, Polly Trottenberg, is going to work with Citi Bike, looking for ways that we can be in collaboration with them, find ways to make their operation more efficient, more effective. And we want to see them succeed.”

Some of that growth includes expansion neighborhoods in the outer boroughs that the program has so far left behind. But city money is not on the table as part of that cooperation, he added.

“At this moment, that’s not in our plans,” de Blasio said. “We want to see what we can do to help them back on their feet, using other methodologies.”

The Wall Street Journal first reported about Citi Bike’s woes last week. It found that Alta Bicycle Share — which operates the program — is looking to raise tens of millions of dollars after rough and expensive first year stymied by storms and software problems.

The Journal added that Citi Bike managers have approached the de Blasio administration of hiking the current $95 membership fee, which is one of the program’s main revenue sources outside advertising and short-term passes that range from $10 to $25.

The Department of Transportation’s Trottenberg told the Daily News in early March that “all options are on the table,” but offered a much more measured response as of late.

“We are working as diligently as we can to help the company resolve them and strengthen the program going forward,” Trottenberg recently said in a statement.

The Citi Bike program launched in spring 2013 with some 5,500 bicycles placed at 293 stations mainly in Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn. Citigroup committed $41 million in private funds under a six-year contract. While operated by Alta, any profits are to be split 50-50 with the city.

Bixi — the Montreal-based subcontractor that supplies equipment for various bike-share systems around the country, including Citi Bike — filed for bankruptcy protection in late January.

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose administration oversaw Citi Bike’s roll out, often defended it as a new mass transit system at no cost to taxpayers — even if it fails.

“If they make money we’re going to share in the profits,” Bloomberg said in October. “So, you know, everybody should be happy with this.”

Follow Chester Jesus Soria on Twitter @chestersoria


California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…


Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…


North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…


MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…


Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.


Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."


Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…


3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.


NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.


Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.


Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.


Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…


4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…


Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…