Back in May, rumors began flying that Citi Bike was on the cusp of being saved from itself by an angel investor of sorts. Now it seems that a deal is getting closer and closer to fruition.
The bike share program is poised for a major payday in the form of new funding in the tens of millions from Related Cos. subsidiary REQX Ventures, according to the Wall Street Journal
The good news is this could save Citi Bike, which has suffered from funding problems because it is one of the few bike share programs that doesn’t receive taxpayer money. But the better news is that the new funding could result in a massive expansion of the program. If the deal goes through, the number of Citi Bikes could increase from 6,200 to 12,000 over the next few years, extending service to areas like Upper Manhattan, Queens and parts of Brooklyn.
A few caveats, though: First, the funding probably won’t prevent Citi Bike owners, Alta Bicycle Share, from raising the annual membership price from $95 to $140+. Turns out members use Citi Bikes at twice the rate Alta thought they would. And secondly, there’s still no word on whether the City and the Department of Transportation will agree to the deal since the Mayor’s support of the program has always been contingent on an improvement of the system’s software, increased accessibility, and continued private funding for the program. So will there be more Citi Bikes on the ground soon? We’ll have to wait and see.
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