Citi Bike Finally Offers Group Rides

Citi bike docks in a residential neighborhood. Photo: Citi Bike Flickr
Citi bike docks in a residential neighborhood. Photo: Citi Bike Flickr

Ride on…and on…and on…and on.

On Monday, the nation’s biggest bike share system revealed that annual members can rent as many as four Citi Bikes — at $3.26 per 45-minute ride — from their active accounts, simply by selecting the “group rides” option in the app.

The group ride setting doesn’t really add a major feature — single rides have long been available at Citi Bike kiosks — but it does streamline the process by allowing multiple rides to be paid for by an existing accountholder. Before now, Citi Bike members couldn’t buy single trip or 3-day passes through the app.

“It’s never been easier to ride with friends,” Citi Bike announced in a tweet on Monday.

Easier…if you can find multiple bikes in a Citi Bike rack. As Streetsblog reported, Citi Bike remains mired in a repair crisis that has pulled thousands of its 12,000 bikes off the roads. On Monday, only 59 percent of the fleet was available for rental — far short of the 97 percent mandated by city contract.

Citi Bike spokesman Cory Epstein said the new feature was added “because we think it will get more people cycling in the city.”

“If members are out with a group, they can now easily check-out additional bikes for friends as easy as they’d swipe others into the subway on their MetroCard or hail a cab,” he added. “It doesn’t require the non-members to download a new app or pay for anything themselves. We’re thinking of it as a way for Citi Bike members to evangelize to friends and family who haven’t tried Citi Bike yet how simple it can be to start biking in New York.”

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