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NYC Bike Share Program

Last year, Citigroup Inc. paid $41 million to New York City to sponsor their new bike renting program; one of the first of its kind in the United States, and one of the largest initiatives in the world.

Starting last summer, 10,000 bikes with Citigroup’s logo on them were placed at 600 docking stations around Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Long Island.

Considering that the majority of New York City’s workers live within 5km of their workplace, this program makes sense as a viable option to provide low-cost transportation to those in need, while making efforts to reduce pollution levels.

Essentially, the bikes will be parked 15-20 in a group at wireless, solar-powered stations. Mastercard Inc also agreed to help with the program. They donated $6.5 million to provide “Paypass Tap & Go” strips to each docking station for patrons to quickly pay for their rental and be on their merry way.

The program costs $95 annually for anyone 16 years of age and older. Each member is allowed a 45 minute trip per rental, and anything over that limit will incur extra costs. Riders are encouraged to wear helmets, though it is not a requirement by law. The program will also operate taxpayer-free, as Citigroup and Mastercard will foot the initial bill until the docks are completed sometime this year.

The company New York chose for the bikes is Alta Bicycle Share; a New York-based company. New York City will also share the profits with the company. Each bike will have an attached GPS-locator, to minimize theft.

All around the globe, bicycle share programs are sprouting up and becoming a trend, In Paris, over 20,000 bikes are shared annually, and up to 60,000 bikes in China.

Other large cities in the United States are beginning to consider launching initiatives of their own to encourage tourism, limit pollution, and clean up traffic congestion.

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