New York City’s bike-share program will begin in May, two months later than anticipated, after Hurricane Sandy damaged equipment.
At least 5,500 so-called Citi Bikes sponsored by Citigroup Inc. will be available from almost 300 docking stations in the densest parts of Manhattan south of 59th Street and in sections of Brooklyn, the city’s Transportation Department said today in a news release. Electrical components must be refurbished or replaced after Sandy’s surge flooded the Brooklyn Navy Yard on the East River, where about two-thirds of the system’s equipment had been stored. Frames and hardware weren’t significantly harmed.
“DOT has worked around the clock to restore vital transportation links following the storm and that includes putting Citi Bike on the road to recovery,” Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said in a statement.
Sandy, which hit Oct. 29 and killed more than 40 people in the city, was the latest setback for the program, which was originally set to start in July. In August, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said faulty software would delay the opening until March, and officials saw little point in starting the program in fall or winter.
More than three years in the making, New York’s bike share, which the release said will grow to 10,000 cycles, will become the biggest in the U.S. and join similar programs in more than 200 cities from Boston to Barcelona.
The revised timeline won’t affect the $41 million in funding from Citigroup, the New York-based bank that’s the chief sponsor and namesake of the program, according to the statement. MasterCard Inc. is behind the $6.5 million payment system, and profits are to be split with the city.
Since 2007, New York has added more than 290 miles (467 kilometers) to the now more than 700-mile bike-lane system, part of Bloomberg’s efforts to tackle two of the city’s most persistent challenges: congested roads and ever-widening waistlines.
The mayor is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.