"The wheels are officially in motion," says DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan at this afternoon's unveiling of the first solar-powered Bike Share station in New York City at a pedestrian mall in the Flatiron District. Alta Bike Share, the company chosen by the Bloomberg administration to run the program (whose bikes and stations are provided by The Public Bike System Company), deployed about a dozen sample models—some of the same ones found on the streets of London, Melbourne, Montreal and other cities in which Alta Bike Share operates—so that Commissioner Sadik-Khan, DOT dignitaries, reporters and other passers-by could "literally kick the tires."
By next summer when the program is in full swing, there should be more than 600 stations across Manhattan and "Northwest Brooklyn" ('cause they're, like, into that shit over there, aren't they?) operating 10,000 of these three-speed communal cruisers that are very heavy, not very fast, but certainly very sturdy. A one year membership will run you $100, less than a month-long unlimited Metrocard (though a bit more than the annual maintenance of a standard privately-operated bike). This membership offers unlimited 30-minute rides. After that, additional costs apply—unless, of course, you're lucky enough to be in range of another bike share station. In that case, you can return one, hop on another and ride for 30 more minutes.
According to the president of Alta Bike Share, the program will come at no cost to taxpayers and will create over 200 new jobs. Profits, she says, will be shared with the city—something Commissioner Sadik-Khan calls our very own "kind of private stimulus package."
Now if they could only come up with a design that didn't include the Barclay's brand.
(Photos by author)