Citibike Rate Hike May Become Reality

While a judge laid the smackdown on 150 Joralemon Street’s suit against Citibike this week, two wheelers only had a few nanoseconds of schadenfreude to enjoy. Seems a rate hike may be in the cards for the service which is “popular but not profitable” and is “in the red” according to CBS 2:

CBS NY: At a City Council hearing Thursday night, New York City DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said all options are on the table when asked about a feeincrease.
“We are working diligently with them to try and resolve the challenges they face and seeing what we can do to strengthen the program going forward,” said Trottenberg.
“The fee is really reasonable and really cheap,” another New Yorker told Rapoport.

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  • MonroeOrange

    I’ll be the first to jump in…so citibank gets tons of advertising in ‘landmarked neighborhoods’ where advertising is not allowed…and now they want to raise the prices on all of you. I would think the money they are saving in advertising costs would not be passed along to all the people riding it…but i guess not.

    Maybe the legal bills are getting to high for citibank which only makes billions a year (see article below). Or maybe the fact that the ridership is extremely low in winter months (which i predicted and proved using the citibike stats as the facts) is affecting the bottom line, which after all is all citibank cares about and is one of the reason i was and am still outraged that these bike docking areas are all over our neighborhood.

    Let the bashing of MonroeOrange begin…and enjoy your rate hike!

  • Joe A

    Poor MO. The BikeShare is a huge success and it drives him/her crazy. I feel no need to bash, you have been proven wrong and everyone knows it.

  • MonroeOrange

    Huge success? yet they need to ask for more money…i would think if it was a huge success there would be plenty of money.

    Hmmm, my business that i charge riders money to rent a bike for 30 minute intervals, and that i charge them additional fees, if they return the bike back late, is so successful, that less than a year into it, i need to raise prices. What about that being a huge success makes no sense?

    Keep on trying Mr. Crusty, or do i need to show you the winter stats again?

  • Eddyde

    First, there is no advertising for Citibank or anyone else on any of the Citibikes or docks.

    Second, Ridership has been beyond expectation this winter, with over 6500 trips on the coldest day. Citibike has proven itself to be a viable, year round transportation system.

    Third, the NY Post article you linked to is meaningless. Just because someone sues Citibike does not mean they’ll win. Besides the accident described sounds like it was more of the City of New York’s liability than Citibikes.

    Last, I will gladly pay more for my annual Citibike membership. I think it was a steal at only a $100 a year.

    You might have a hatred for the Citibike program, for whatever reason and that’s fine However. it does not change the facts.

    Enjoy your hate filled life.

  • MonroeOrange

    I was not gonna respond to you bc each of your points omits all logic, but i feel that i need to correct you…

    First, ‘no advertising on citibike’?!!!!!!
    – So City is actually spelled ‘Citi; with the exact logo of ‘Citibank’ and the exact color of the company. Maybe you should actually look at the logo ‘citibike’ before you respond…ill give you a moment..scroll up to the top of article….or maybe i should tell my 1st grade teacher that city is actually spelled ‘citi’…bc she was wrong all these years!

    – If this was a ‘VIABLE, year round transportation system’, why do they need to raise the price less than a year into the system? sounds to me like you should look up the word viable. And a transportation system that is only in select neighborhoods is not an alternative transportation system. How about they put these in neighborhoods that actually need the additional transportation, not ones, that have 8 different train lines within blocks of each other.


  • Joe A

    So you still cling to the belief that the bike-share program is a failure? Lol. Really? Okie dokie.

  • MonroeOrange

    yes….if a business is a ‘success’ than why do they need to raise the prices so early on? I am not saying a business can’t raise their prices, but any business that does so early on is clearly not successful. They haven’t even expanded to neighborhoods that could actually use an ‘alternative transportation’ and they need to raise the rates…what happens when it actually (if ever does) get implemented in those areas…will they raise the rates again, and again. I have never considered any of my businesses a success if i continually need to pass the cost along to my customers, but then again i care about my customers…citibank clearly doesn’t. Its not like they need to worry about someone raising their rents, which is why a business would need to raise their prices. They get free spaces to park their docks and now they need more money…like i said, enjoy your rate hike.

  • mucow

    “How about they put these in neighborhoods that actually need the additional transportation, not ones, that have 8 different train lines within blocks of each other.”

    Without the docks near the 8 different train lines, the docks in the neighborhoods lacking the 8 train lines wouldn’t be very useful now, would they?

  • MonroeOrange

    huh? actually they would be very useful to people in which there is no train station as this is supposed to be alternate transportation. If they actually set these up where there wasn’t a train station, people could ride from dock to dock in areas where there is no train station, not use it ‘sight see’ around BH.

  • mucow

    This was discussed to death in the pre-launch posts, but the main usage is last-mile trips to / from transit — this is borne out by the statistics. For example, if you’re in the far east village, this gives you fast access to the trains; far faster than walking. Not putting them near transit removes one of the most useful aspects of the system.

  • mucow

    I totally agree. We should do something about those awful “City Bus” shelters they’ve been installing everywhere, too — covered in ads, and I can’t believe the MTA is raising the price AGAIN next year. Clearly not a viable transportation system, and don’t even get me started about how they only put the trains where all the people are.

    All kidding aside, I missed your run-through of the stats — IIRC, we discussed this at length before the launch, and I’ve been waiting for the weather to warm up so I could correlate the stats. Were you able to compare them against the DOT bike scanline counts, to see if, in fact, CitiBike usage dropped much lower than general cycling as a whole this winter? Obviously the total number of riders would drop during a winter that set records for both snow and cold, so a relative comparison seems more relevant here.

  • MonroeOrange

    Then they shouldn’t bill it as ‘alternate transportation’, they should label it as ‘alt transportation in select areas, but not in any areas that actually could use alt transportation bc there is limited public transportation in those areas’…… Im not saying i don’t have many issues with this program, but in my opinion, this program was nothing more than a good way for Citibank to get advertising for themselves. And i don’t think its a coincidence that they chose affluent neighborhoods to place these bikes in, where there advertising is most beneficial to their bottom line. People need to wake up and see this program for what it is, advertising for citibank. And now they want to increase the rates?!

  • MonroeOrange

    the bus shelters aren’t placed in landmarked areas where advertising is not allowed, yet the bike docks are…why is Citibank allowed to advertise on public property in landmarked areas, where no others are allowed to advertise.

    In regards to winter numbers, i was blasted for saying no one would ride in the winter…and 6,500 trips on the coldest day out of 8million people is ‘no one’…

  • mucow

    “the bus shelters aren’t placed in landmarked areas where advertising is not allowed, yet the bike docks are…why is Citibank allowed to advertise on public property in landmarked areas, where no others are allowed to advertise.”

    Maybe you should call the MTA, then — this shelter is clearly in the Cobble Hill historic district:

    So is this one, in the Greenwich Village historic district:

    …actually it looks like the village is littered with these ad-filled eyesores:

    …and it’s definitely worth calling someone about this advertising, which is shamelessly in the middle of our historic district, on our public streets:

    …and don’t even get me started, here:

  • mucow

    You do know that the program is run by Alta Bike Share (, and that Citi paid the city a lump sum to fund the initial capital investment in exchange for naming and advertising rights, right?

    “And i don’t think its a coincidence that they chose affluent neighborhoods to place these bikes in, where their advertising is most beneficial to their bottom line”

    Seems to me they placed the stations where the infrastructure is:
    …which are probably going to be pretty attractive places to live, and therefore pricier, but I’m not an economist, just a humble computer programmer :)

  • Eddyde

    The simple presence of the Citibike logo is hardly considered advertising, at least no more than every other vehicle on the street, sporting their logos. You claim this “advertising” violates some legal statute, yet you have not produced any evidence such a law exists. When I walk down Montague St which is clearly in the heart of the landmarked historical district, I see many corporate logos, even some overt ads, are you saying these are illegal?
    You fail to understand, ONE of the many ways the bike share system works is to “extend the existing mass transit system” That is to provide quick & easy access to and from ones destination, to and from mass transit. Thus locating the docks near subway & bus stations is “logical”. The system will be soon be expanded to other neighborhoods.
    Many businesses adjust pricing and typically offer lower prices at launch. Being able to raise prices and maintain your customer base is a success, not a failure.
    Therefore, the Citibike system Is, by the dictionary definition “viable”, it is here to stay. You will have CITIBIKE logos in your face for the rest of your life, get use to it.

  • Eddyde

    to compair 6500 trips against all 8 million residents of NYC, many of whom would never use the system, only shows your total lack of understanding statistical analysis.
    In the scale of the area and people served by Citibike, 6500 rides on the coldest day of the winter is a resounding success.

  • petersteinberg

    A few points:

    1. MonroeOrange keeps referring to what “CitiBank” does with the bike system. S/he just doesn’t seem to understand the basic concept of sponsorship. As others have stated, Citibank paid a lump sum to Alta as a sponsor. Citibank does not run the system. Citibank is not the one *considering* raising prices, it’s Alta. Constantly blaming Citibank for any aspect of the bike system is like calling up Barclay’s Bank in London to complain about the cost of a ticket to see a Nets game at the Barclay Center.

    2. The placement of the bike racks near subway stations — and where subway stations are densest — weas a very thoughtful and well made decision. NYU just released a study ( ) showing that the placement of the stations close to subways could be a key factor in Citibike being the most successful bike system in the country. (I could be wrong but I think it’s actually the most popular system in the world. Any StreetsBlog readers want to back me up?)

    Or, as the Kate Fillin-Yeh, the director of the bike share program for the New York City Department of Transportation, said in New York Magazine in an article about bike use during the coldest weather:

    “The thing we’re seeing the most is that people really seem to use bike share in conjunction with other forms of transit. So on the busiest days the ones around Grand Central, Union Square, and Astor Place are busiest,” Fillin-Yeh said. That’s because people ride, say, from the East Village to the subway, or from Grand Central to work. “If you look at Tuesday, the same thing is at work. If you’ve got a twenty-minute cold walk or a five-minute cold bike ride, the five-minute ride is the best option.”

    3. Next, MonroeOrange’s repeated offense at the placement of the Citibank “advertisements” on the bike racks in our historic district rings hollow. I’ve never heard him or her object to the advertisements placed on the phone booth on the public sidewalk on the corner of Montague and Henry. I’ve never heard him or her make any objection to the advertisements on the subway entrances on the corner of Montague and Clinton. Or the bus stop on Atlantic and Court. I’ve never heard him or her make any objection to the car logos on every single car parked along every single public city street in the historic district. Not to mention the occasional car parked on our public street that’s completely covered with a corporate advertisement.

    4. Personally, I’d be fine with higher prices. It was $95 for the year. (Actually, $80 or $85 because Mastercard offered a discount). That works out to 26 cents a day. They could outright double the price and I still think it would be a tremendous value.


  • MonroeOrange

    Citibank gets advertising out of their sponsorship. If Citibank wants to remove their name from the docking stations and bikes, then i have no problem not blaming Citibank for the rate hike. Citibank paid a certain amount of money to sponsor this program, it would appear that citibank did not pay enough to support the bike program even though they get stagnant and moving advertising from this program each day. If citibank was to contribute more money, than the rate hike would not be passed along to the customer. Seems to me, that Citibank is the reason you will be paying more.

  • MonroeOrange

    so this program is not available to 8 million nyc residents each day? I wasn’t aware only part of the population is allowed to use the program. 6,500 rides, equates to 3,250 users most likely. 0.04% of NYC residents using this on a give day is not a resounding success to me.

  • MonroeOrange

    Cobbile hill has different landmark regulations. And your pulling at straws, that is one example. There are countless biking docks in BH, clearly in landmarked areas.

  • MonroeOrange

    i had to force myself to continue reading after ‘citibike logo is hardly considered advertising’. What would you consider the Citibank logo on the docking stations and bikes to be? Because obviously every time i look at an american express ad, i think of visa.

  • mucow
  • MonroeOrange

    My points were all valid parts of a discussion/debate…….im not sure what this diagram shows, except you have wayyyyyyyy too much time on your hands.

  • Eddyde

    Same as every time I see a car that says Ford, Chevrolet or Honda, I don’t think it’s an ad. It is the name of the bike share system, Citibike. It does not say “Citibank” And even if did SO WHAT. Obviously only you harbor neurosis on this issue, I have not heard one sane person object to Citibike on the grounds of “advertising”.

    Again, You make claims that Citibike is somehow violating “laws against advertising in a landmarked area” yet you cannot produce any evidence of this. Thus your entire argument is invalid.

  • Eddyde

    The system is available to all 16 or older. However, to do a realistic study you would have to limit it to the population (static and dynamic) in area served by the stations, not the entire city. Furthermore, you would not count the people who never use the system (such as yourself) even in good weather.

    Your moronic, illogical and delusional commentary strikes me as if you are a long time marijuana abuser… just saying…

  • Eddyde

    “Cobbile hill has different landmark regulations” Really? Please provide proof.

  • Banet

    MonroeOrange, maybe it’s a fool’s errand to try and get this basic point through to you but sponsors are neither responsible or involved in the finances of the organization they sponsor.

    Again, by your logic I should call up Barclay’s Bank and berate them for failing to pay enough money to sponsor the Barclay Center. After all, the Brooklyn Nets raised ticket prices after the first season. You seem to think this is Barclay’s fault, not the arena’s.

    By the same logic, I should call up the myriad companies that pay for advertising on MTA buses and subways and berate them for not paying enough for the ads they place. After all, the MTA has to keep raising their prices. These advertisers must be paying too little.

  • Joe A

    NYC is the media capital of the world. I wonder if MO could supply one link to an article about the city’s bike share program which describes it as a failure. I can supply many, many links extolling the successes of the bikeshare program but can MO find ONE article, ONE, that agrees with his point of view that the bike share program is a failure?

    I know you are embarrassed MO for being so monumentally wrong about the bikeshare program but perhaps you would be wise to heed the advice, “when in a hole, stop digging”.

  • MonroeOrange

    your entire arguement became invalid with the very first line you wrote ‘First, there is no advertising for Citibank or anyone else on any of the Citibikes or docks.’ …..that line was so incompatible with any sort of intelligent thought, that i can’t continue debating this with you.