The Citi Bike program is celebrating its first birthday today by offered $1 day passes (they usually cost $10), which gives us a chance to reflect on the fact that the controversial program has indeed turned out to be something of a disaster, although not the kind its detractors thought it would be. While critics like the Wall Street Journal's resident Crypt Keeper Dorothy Rabinowitz decried the bikes as death traps that would lay the city to waste (actual quotes: "The most important danger in the city is not the yellow cabs, it is the bicyclists." "The bike lobby is an all powerful enterprise.") the problem turned out to be much more mundane — the program just doesn't make enough money to sustain itself. And, as if to add insult to injury, the city just told the struggling bike share that it owes $1 million for lost parking revenue.
According to the Journal, who reported the story, Alta Bicycle Share Inc.'s contract with the city comes with an unusual provision that requires the company to reimburse the city for parking revenue. The provision has surfaced now as a bargaining chip, as Alta negotiates with the city and REQX Ventures, the investment firm that is trying to make a deal to bail out and expand the Citi Bike program. The two companies want the provision to be removed and to be able to raise the rates.
· Citi Bike Asked to Pay Lost Parking Revenue [WSJ]
· Citi Bike Marks One Year Anniversary In New York City [CBS]
· Citi Bike coverage [Curbed]