BY JACKIE STRAWBRIDGE
Queens commuters have a new way to get around the City.
The Dept. of Transportation, Alta Bicycle Share and Citi announced on Tuesday that the Citi Bike system will expand to Queens, as well as to Harlem and additional areas in Brooklyn. Areas of Queens that can expect to see Citi Bike stations include Astoria, Long Island City and Queensbridge.
The expansion, made possible by more than $100 million in private funds, will double the total number of bikes and bike stations throughout the City by 2017. The yearly membership fee will also jump to $149 from $95.
Tuesday’s announcement followed a buyout of Alta, the beleaguered company that operates Citi Bike, and new leadership with former MTA chairman Jay Walder as incoming CEO.
Walder addressed some of the problems that the Citi Bike system has become notorious for since its launch.
“Anyone that uses Citi Bike regularly knows that it should be more reliable, it should be easier to use and it should be accessible to more of the City. In short, Citi Bike has the potential to be so much more,” Walder said.
He pointed to the influx of funds alongside a good relationship with the City as “the ingredients” for a successful bike share network.
Walder also noted that every bike and bike station will receive a tune up over the winter.
DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said that fining Alta for previous service failures was ultimately an unproductive solution.
“What we decided going forward is rather [than] look at the past, they’re going to put a $30 million investment,” Trottenberg said, adding, “going forward, we are going to hold their feet to the fire in terms of levels of service.”
According to Walder, outer borough demand for Citi Bike is “fantastic.”
“What’s extraordinary about [Citi Bike] is it’s getting that reception even though people are frustrated,” he added.
The DOT is looking for public input on where to place stations throughout the expanded region. New Yorkers can visit nyc.gov/bikeshare to suggest locations.
Reach Jackie Strawbridge at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, email@example.com or @JNStrawbridge.