New York City’s new bike share program kicked off over the Memorial Day weekend, and while many residents and tourists took to the streets on the big blue Citi-branded bicycles, not everyone is so amped up about the service. Namely, one local business owner who runs a bike shop that’s offered rentals on the Lower East side for 37 years who now has a Citi Bike kiosk skulking right outside his door.
The shop owner tells the New York Post that he’s worried his business will take a huge hit from the new bikes installed 150 feet from his front door — after all, his bike rentals cost $30 per day while a 24-hour pass for the Citi Bike wheels is only $10.
That pass allows bikers to take out wheels for 30-minute time slots before they must be returned to a docking station, however. You can take another out after waiting five minutes.
“My biggest question is how did they come about to choose the areas where they put these bikes. Did they study the areas? Did they look at the businesses around them?” he wonders.
He says the money he gets from the rentals is about a third of his income, and that the city didn’t even speak to him before setting up the kiosk basically on his doorstep.
“It has become more and more of a year-round business,” he said of the rentals. “You got tourists that come, and Europeans especially are used to using bikes year-round. It’s a growing business.”
Instead, he says he’ll have to figure out another way to make up for losing money to the Citi Bike program.
To that end, a city Department of Transportation spokesman said the shop is listed on the program’s map and digital app, which could help the store out, ultimately. Other supporters of the program see it as a way to increase interest in a biking culture overall.
“We expect bike-share will help local businesses like [the shop] as as they sell more bike gear and helmets,” spokesman Seth Solomonow said.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg responded to any and all concerns about the bike-share locations yesterday.
“We move things around all the time to see where it makes sense,’’ he said, adding that program “is going to be phenomenally popular.”
Thanks for the tip, D.G.!