A new report claims that the vast majority of New Yorkers in low-income neighborhoods don’t have access to Citi Bike, despite being in dire need of transportation alternatives.
The study, commissioned by New York Communities for Change, shows that 76.8 percent of the city is out of luck when it comes to accessing the bike share program. The hardest-hit demographic, according to the study, is people of color, of which 84 percent lack access. Furthermore, more than 75 percent of neighborhoods in extreme poverty lack access to the bike program.
“This report confirms that as a city we must ensure that we expand Citi Bike and other bike sharing programs to the outer-boroughs,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chairman of the Committee on Transportation. “The Citi Bike program has provided hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers with an efficient, reliable, and safe alternative form of transportation. Our work must continue, we need to expedite the bike sharing expansion, ensuring that these services can benefit all New Yorkers living in transit deserts and low-income communities.”
The report claims that the Citi Bike service is running in areas where there is already ample access to subways — over 95 percent of New Yorkers who have access to Citi Bikes live near subway stations. But, the report claims, a mere 3.8 percent of New York’s 2.5 million residents living further than half a mile from the subway have access to the bikes.
Professor David Wachsmuth, the report’s author, said, “Bike sharing can be a powerful way to improve the mobility options of socially disadvantaged communities who struggle to afford car ownership and ‘don’t have reliable subway access. Unfortunately, our analysis finds that the Citi Bike system in New York fails to live up to this promise. It serves a population which is already extremely privileged, and since the Citi Bike network opened in 2013, the situation has barely improved.”
In response to the report, a Citi Bike spokesperson told Metro that, “Ensuring that diverse communities have access to Citi Bike is central to our mission. From Bed-Stuy to Harlem, there are thousands of public housing residents and low-income New Yorkers who have joined Citi Bike for only $5 a month. And as we expand significantly in the near future, we will reach many more neighborhoods and continue our focus on bikeshare equity.”
Citi Bike told Metro that over the next five years, the program is planning to double the current service area and triple the number of bikes.