I’ve just taken the plunge and signed up for Citibike, New York’s bike-sharing program. The bikes are suddenly ubiquitous in lower Manhattan, and yesterday a colleague of mine burst into work with a huge smile, raving about cutting his commute from 30 to 10 minutes. That pushed me over the edge.
To get started, I decided it was worth the $10 (for a 24-hour pass) for a one-time experimental ride before signing up for the year ($100). Even at $10 for the day it’s not much more than my round-trip on the NYC subway ($5), and I wasn’t sure how long my ride would take or how hot and sweaty I’d be upon arriving to work. After completing that first ride, I’m sold.
Even with the extra hassle of a manual first ride – which required manually putting in my credit card rather than the little key fob that they send you, getting confused about how to enter the confirmation code on the bike, and not knowing the best route to take – I still got from Grand Central to Acumen’s offices on 15th Street and 9th Avenue in the exact same amount of time as my regular subway-plus-walk commute, so I figure on a typical day I’ll save at least five minutes and get a bit of exercise to boot. Also, although I never think about the cost of the subway, I’d stand to save $25 / week if I ride every day, or more than $1,000 per year. Even accounting for variable weather, days when I’m too dressed up to ride, etc. it seems like a hugely winning proposition in exchange for clipping a helmet to my bag each morning on the way to work.
I’m a big fan of public transportation and of city services / public spaces that work, and Citibike seems like a winner on all counts – even for someone like me who doesn’t live in New York City.
Have you tried Citibike? What do you think of it?