At the beginning of this week, rumors started to circulate that some major changes would likely be happening around the embattled Citi Bike program, and now, it's official: REQX Ventures (an enterprise affiliated with Related Companies and the owner of Equinox) has purchased former Citi Bike operators Alta Bicycle Share, and has named former MTA chairman Jay Walder as CEO of the new venture. The changes are more than structural; the buy also means that the bike share program will expand its size twofold by 2017, to 12,000 bicycles and 700 docks. The deal will bring new docking stations to neighborhoods like Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and farther reaches of Bed-Stuy, to start. The deal will also bring Citi Bike to Queens for the first time with docking stations in Long Island City and eventually Astoria and Sunnyside. Not the least of the changes is to the cost of its annual membership, which will spike from $95 to $149a figure the company so tactfully points out as slightly more expensive than a monthly MetroCard.
The company also seems committed to fixing the plights that have plagued the program from its start, like broken docks, cracked seats, and non-functioning kiosks. Repairs to what's broken (everything) will start imminently with the program's expansion gearing up in 2015. New York Magazine reports that Citibank is expected to stay on as a sponsor for the program.
· Expansion! Woo hoo! [CBB]
· Citi Bike Is Getting Bigger, Better, and More Expensive [NYM]
· All Citi Bike coverage [Curbed]