Recently, we’ve done a lot of reporting on the economic hellscape that is currently Citi Bike. Despite having 100,000 paying members, the bike share program has had a hard time getting non-members to rent bikes and an even harder time handling basic infrastructure issues, which just so happens to be the crux of the program’s success.
In our initial story about the growing problem, we pointed out that Alta Bicycle Share, the Oregon-based company behind Citi Bike and nearly a dozen others throughout the U.S., was reluctant to bring in more major investors. But now, there are reports that they’ve changed their tune and may soon get much needed funds.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Alta is looking to recruit REQX Ventures, a subsidiary of the real estate company Related Companies. If none of that rings a bell, maybe REQX Ventures’ subsidiary, Equinox, will. They’re the pricey chain of gyms behind those ads with beautiful, naked people that say, “Equinox made me do it.”
But that’s neither here nor there. The important thing is that an investment from REQX Ventures may very well save the program by providing it with the funds to not only run the program, but extend its reach as well. And since Brooklyn is pretty underserved as far as Citi Bike goes, this extension would mean a lot. What’s more, the investment could temporarily stave off a planned hike in the price of memberships since the city refuses to let Alta do anything until they’ve expanded the program’s reach from the current 6,200 bikes to a more widely available 10,000 bikes.
Obviously, the whole thing is still in the air, but according to Atla, they’re “deep in discussions…to build on the success of the Citi Bike system through expansion of the system footprint and other improvements.”
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