The city’s bike share program is losing money and needs to raise tens of millions of dollars in order to survive, according to a new report.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the program’s leaders have approached officials in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration about raising its rates.
Polly Trottenberg, the city’s new transportation commissioner, said earlier this month that Citi Bike faced “a number of financial and operational challenges,” but she did not offer further details.
“We are working as diligently as we can to help the company resolve them and strengthen the program going forward,” she said.
While annual memberships have been popular, the program has failed to sell enough daily passes, according to the Journal’s report. More short-term users would bring in greater revenue, but the program has been less popular than anticipated among tourists.
Citi Bike has faced a number of challenges, such as costly maintenance issues, software glitches and harsh weather this winter, but advocates say that Alta Bicycle Share, the company that operates Citi Bike, has not done enough to adapt to those problems.
Citi Bike is different from bike share programs in other cities because it operates without public funds. Its revenue comes from corporate sponsorships, advertising and membership and usage fees. Despite the financial struggles, the company is not seeking public money, the Journal reports.