New York City Mayor Bloomberg announced last week that it is moving forward with an official, city-wide bicycle-sharing program that could potentially make thousands of bicycles available for public use throughout the city. The program would likely be the country’s largest, and, according to city officials, should turn a profit. The city is looking to set up a twenty-four hour network of around 10,000 bikes.
New York Transportation Commissioner Janette-Sadik Khan tells Transportation Nation that the program would be entirely funded, maintained, and operated by a private contractor who would share the revenue from rentals and membership with the city. In other cities with bike shares, sponsorships and advertising help pay for the bikes. Earlier generations of bike share in many European cities required subsidies, but the city believes that wireless technology, gps, and solar-powered bike stations, a system in New York can be run far more efficiently. The program could be up and running as early as 2012.
New York City is also following in the footsteps of Denver, Minneapolis, and Washington, DC — all of which have installed large scale bike share programs. Boston is preparing to begin one soon.