New Yorkers Are Riding Citi Bike to Transit

Citi Bikes aren't performing that well. Photo: Adrian Nutter/Flickr
Citi Bikes aren't performing that well. Photo: Adrian Nutter/Flickr

Citi Bike is helping New Yorkers connect to trains and buses, according to a new report from the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation [PDF].

The report by Rudin Center researchers Sarah Kaufman and Jenny O’Connell draws on Citi Bike’s September 2016 trip data to analyze usage patterns.

Ninety-eight percent of September's Citi Bike trips were less than 45 minutes long. Image: NYU Rudin
Ninety-eight percent of Citi Bike trips in September were less than 45 minutes long. Image: NYU Rudin

In 2016, Citi Bike routinely hit ridership records as it continued to expand and draw new members. Annual subscriptions reached 115,000, after falling the previous year. This year, the growth should continue as new stations are coming this year to Harlem, Astoria, and Prospect Heights.

Almost half the trips last September — 48 percent — were under 10 minutes long, which indicates that riders are using bike-share to make short trips within their neighborhoods or “as last-mile connections to transit,” according to Kaufman and O’Connell.

“People are using Citi Bike in short distance that are perhaps too short to jump on a subway, but may be too long to walk,” Kaufman told the Daily News. “Citi Bike introduces a new options that… really cuts down on travel times.”

While Rudin didn’t directly survey riders about combining bike-share and transit, the authors note that a disproportionate number of trips originate near large transit hubs like Grand Central, Penn Station, and Union Square. In some locations, bike-share can also shorten the trip to the train or the bus — 18 percent of Manhattan residential buildings are closer to a Citi Bike station than to a subway entrance or bus stop.

This year, new stations are coming to Harlem, Astoria, and Prospect Heights. The de Blasio administration has no public plans to extend Citi Bike beyond that zone, but the City Council is agitating for further expansion. Looking ahead, Kaufman and O’Connell anticipate that the service can be valuable in many more neighborhoods beyond the current service area, as long as adequate station density and proximity to transit are maintained.

  • Larry Littlefield

    This is how I thought it could work. If you live in the suburbs, you can ride your own bike to the train station, take commuter rail, and then take a Citibike to your final destination.

    It’s a much better deal than the subway for those working in East Midtown and arriving at Penn Station, or those working Downtown and arriving at Grand Central, or those taking the Staten Island Ferry and working in Midtown. I expect that over time ridership will be constrained only by supply.

  • Reader

    One day, someone should go back and find all the doom-and-gloom predictions about Citi Bike in 2013 and compare them to the huge success it’s enjoyed since then. We’ve only begun to scratch the surface when it comes to satisfying the demand for better biking in NYC.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Here’s what that’s important. It’s a free shot for hack politicians and journalists to oppose change on behalf of troglodytes and special interests, because it never comes back on them later.

    There could be a great strand of “gotcha” journalism just going after people for what the said and did to screw the future and those who will live in it. Just accost them and demand why they said X when it is now obvious the truth is Y.

    There is a former NYC Comptroller who hopefully will never be elected to anything ever again.


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