In a letter sent to the NYC Department of Transportation Monday morning, several New York City Council members pushed the agency to ensure that Citi Bike’s upcoming expansion plans include low-income neighborhoods, the Daily News first reported.
The missive—signed by councilmembers Justin Brannan, Adrienne Adams, and Ritchie Torres—also requests that the details of Lyft and Citi Bike’s planned $100 million expansion be made public. Lyft owns Motivate, the company that operates Citi Bike.
The letter comes less than a week after nonprofit New York Communities for Change (NYCC) released a study showing that only 15.9 percent of New Yorkers living in poverty have access to bike-sharing and only 16.5 percent city residents of color. The report also shows that of the 2.5 million New Yorkers who live at least half a mile away from a subway station, only 3.8 percent have access to Citi Bike stations. NYCC executive director Jonathan Westin also signed the letter to DOT.
“The reality is, if you’re granting a monopoly to a privately-run company, which the city has, the public needs to be kept informed,” the letter reads. “Because while Citi Bike is a private entity, it is unquestionably meant to be a public service that provides alternative transportation options, eases congestion, and improves air quality across the entire city.”
“We know that under the terms of the previous agreement, Citi Bike is required to propose locations and the city has to approve it,” the letter adds. “A release of the current contract and other planning documents would shed light on what Citi Bike is required to do and how they can be held accountable for the promised expansion.”
Back in November, Citi Bike announced their expansion plans, powered by a $100 million Lyft investment, that would, among other things, double its area of coverage, triple the amount of bikes on the streets, and add more pedal-assist bikes (which is now on hold until at least the fall).