Citi Bike Finally Offers Group Rides

Many docks were completely full today.
Many docks were completely full today.

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.”

  • qrt145

    When did they add single rides? Either I never noticed or completely forgot about it! 🙂

    In any case, I think it’s disappointing that it is more costly to ride a bike than to take the subway, if it is meant as transportation. This means that the most likely market for single rides is tourists.

  • Joseph Cutrufo

    The City of New York helps subsidize the subway. It does not subsidize Citi Bike.

  • $3.26 for a ride is pretty ridiculous. They should go for $2.50 “cheaper than a swipe!”

  • walks bikes drives

    Every member should get a handful of free one off rides. Introduce people to the system. Like a gym giving guest passes.

  • qrt145

    I got one a long long time ago, but it was on paper and it expired. It would be more useful if they gave you a certain number each year through the app.

  • Daisy’s World

    If you’re a Citi Bike rider and had trouble finding wheels this week, here’s why. The company says it had to pull a portion of its fleet from service because of damaged handlebars that could have been dangerous to riders. Citi Bike sent out an email to its subscribers Wednesday addressing the issue. We’ve recently seen unusual damage on some of our handlebars, and out of an abundance of caution, we’ve removed a part of our fleet from service, the email said. We are working to retrofit this part of the fleet with the new handlebar design that we introduced this summer. Citi Bike officials declined to comment further on how many bikes it pulled, what the specific damage to the handlebars was, or when it will be able to return them to service. Riders talking about the issue on Reddit said they’d seen handlebar grips that melted in the sun and grips that would slip off the bicycle.