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Another Liberal Amenity for the Urban Upper Class Courtesy Taxpayers ^ | May 26, 2014 | John Ransom

Posted on 05/26/2014 7:01:53 AM PDT by Kaslin

Citibike is a success. Unqualified. Raving. Success.

“Citigroup, who was the recipient of over $476 billion dollars of taxpayer bailout money,” wrote Alex Garcia on Townhall Finance in 2012, “has joined forces with the City of New York to sponsor a $41 million dollar bike share program.”

That program became Citibike.

The goal wasn’t quite as ambitious as Obama’s target of a million electric cars on the roads in eight years. But still the program aimed at putting 10,000 bikes in 600 locations around New York City for commuters to share in the name of environmentalism, health and being hip.

And so far the bike sharing program that sold it’s naming rights to a bank that at the time owed the United States Treasury for bailout money received, is living up to it’s storied moniker.

They’ve only put out 6,000 bikes at 325 locations. So at $6,833 per bike that’s a lot like other bailout math we’ve seen in this administration.

Oh, but that’s not all.

“New York City's Department of Transportation has held more than two dozen public meetings aimed at introducing Citi Bike to low-income New Yorkers,” reports NPR, “and it's given away more than 100,000 free helmets.”

Helmets aren’t cheap either. Even assuming a big discount, the city has spent at least a million dollars on free helmets.

But according to the city of New York, bike aficionados, and the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy (ITDP) the program has been an unqualified success.

“The past year has seen sustainable transport flourish,” notes ITDP, “with programs like New York Citibike receiving widespread attention. ITDP has worked with dozens of cities around the world to take steps toward building a better environment for their citizens, and millions of residents are feeling the benefits.”

CNN calls Citibike one of the best-run bike programs in the world noting: “NYC's CitiBike system averages 8.3 trips per bike and 42.7 trips per 1,000 residents.”

And according to internet site “Since its launch, we’ve seen entertainment stars like Seth Meyers, Lindsay Lohan, Mackelmore, and Leonardo DiCaprio riding Citi Bike,” adding “Anthony Weiner made headlines after taking one for a spin.”

I presume they meant Weiner took a bike for a spin, not one of the celebrities.

But underneath the surface there is still more bailout than there is bike to New York City’s bike sharing program.

“The financially troubled company running the city’s bike rental program is considering raising its rates,” reports New York Daily News, “so it can stay afloat, new Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said Thursday.”

Maybe it’s just me, but perhaps a company doing business for merely 100 days, and subsidized by a private gift, should be doing better than just trying to stay afloat.

The NY Daily News noted that some residents are now calling for the city to subsidize the bike sharing program as they do other forms of public transportation.

That’s because despite the success touted by the ITDP, bike sharing remains largely an amenity of the rich and privileged.

"The rates of low-income ridership of all bike-share programs around the world is pitifully low. So we can only do better," Caroline Samponaro, of Transportation Alternatives in New York told NPR. "The demographic information I've seen to date is that it's more men than women, and only 0.5 percent are low-income New Yorkers."

That’s because behind the feel-good façade are economics that just don’t add up.

For a $95 annual fee bike-share members in Manhattan get all-you-can-use access to the silly looking Citibikes in 45 minute increments.

That’s about half the price of a moderately priced bike at Walmart, and when you buy the bike at Walmart, you get to keep your bike, if you like it.


You do.

That’s how private property works in America. And that way you can use your bike all the time.

So while the program remains very popular for metro-testicled males in Manhattan, who apparently have money to burn in the quest to remain hip, presumably those with less discretionary income are little wiser with their money. They look at transportation as a way to get from point A to point B, cheaply and efficiently.

But expect NYC to spare no taxpayer expense to keep the program going no matter how little financial sense it makes.

This is more than just a bike program. We’re saving the planet here people.

“We’re talking to them,” Trottenberg told the Daily News about keeping the bikeshare company afloat. “I would put it this way — all options are on the table. I think everyone agrees it turned out to be a real bargain for New Yorkers, who used the system twice as much as users of other cities.”

And when politicians say that that mean taxpayers will eventually get taken for a ride to subsidize the feel-good hippiness of those who know better than you.

Not coincidentally, these are people who often live in Manhattan.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society

1 posted on 05/26/2014 7:01:53 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Once again, liberals offer proof of their economic ignorance.

2 posted on 05/26/2014 7:14:15 AM PDT by Hoodat (Democrats - Opposing Equal Protection since 1828)
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To: Kaslin

All I see are rows and rows of very expensive looking bikes - and very few empty spaces.

NYC must be one of the worst places to bike in. I stopped biking in Central Park years ago because of the loons trying to kill each other by reckless biking. After I was almost killed by a messenger on Lexington Avenue, I came to hate bikers in the city.

3 posted on 05/26/2014 7:26:29 AM PDT by miss marmelstein (Richard Lives Yet!)
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To: Kaslin

All they had to do was ask people for Bikes they are not using and millions would show up ,FOR FREE

4 posted on 05/26/2014 7:29:10 AM PDT by molson209 (Blank)
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To: Kaslin

Who covers the insurance on these riders if they experience or cause an accident? The libs are totally clueless. I remember their mantra from the 60’s/70’s,”If it feels good ,do it!” God save the Republic.

5 posted on 05/26/2014 7:29:42 AM PDT by Don Corleone ("Oil the the cannoli. Take it to the Mattress.")
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To: Kaslin
This article misses a lot of points about the NYC program.

For one thing, it tries to make the case that the $95 annual fee is excessive, but in fact it's actually too low for the company to stay in business. These bikes are very popular among NYC residents for any number of reasons (you don't need to store the damn thing in a tiny apartment, for one thing), which is actually part of the problem the company running the program is facing. In order to make the system work, they have to have a large number of staff continuously traveling around the city picking up bikes from crowded destinations and returning them to other locations where the racks empty quickly. A typical regular user, for example, may pick up a bike on the Upper West Side and ride it to Penn Station for a train trip somewhere else. Multiply that by many riders who are all doing this at the same time (morning rush hour), and you can see how you'd have an issue with imbalanced demand.

The other thing the article doesn't point out is that these programs work very well in other places. Washington D.C. is a good example of this. One big difference between the NYC program and the Washington program is that the NYC has many regular users who are paying the $95 annual fee, while the Washington program has far more one-day users ($7) than annual users ($75/year). Most of the NYC bikes are used by residents/commuters, while most of the Washington bikes are used by visitors. That makes a huge difference on the revenue side.

6 posted on 05/26/2014 7:50:33 AM PDT by Alberta's Child ("What in the wide, wide world of sports is goin' on here?")
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To: Kaslin

The only thing I see “sustainable” is liberal idiocy.

7 posted on 05/26/2014 7:59:18 AM PDT by Nuc 1.1 (Nuc 1 Liberals aren't Patriots. Remember 1789!)
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To: Kaslin
That’s about half the price of a moderately priced bike at Walmart, and when you buy the bike at Walmart, you get to keep your bike, if you like it.

This is not nearly as good an argument, at least in NYC, as the author seems to think.

The whole point of the Citibike is that it allows efficient combination of public transit, such as the subway, for traveling long distances, with the bike for shorter distances from the subway station to destination.

That won't work with a bike you own unless they let you take it on the subway, which I don't think they will.

8 posted on 05/26/2014 8:19:58 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: Kaslin

My stepson owns a bike shop in Columbus, OH. They tried this there and found it an unqualified successful way to have bikes stolen. The cancelled the program after a few month because of lack of bikes.

But hey just because it didn’t work in the backwaters of Ohio doesn’t mean it can’t work in NYC, right?

9 posted on 05/26/2014 8:38:52 AM PDT by redangus
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To: Kaslin
As the story has pointed out you can buy a bike for almost a cheap..but the yuppies that commute are not going to buy a bike and haul in to the city each day

But what about if you live in town?..The main advantage it has the parking rack for the bike..

So for the poor that live in town that would probably want to own their own bike..

If NY just had bike rack you could park and lock your bikes bus station locker

But correct me if im wrong probably illegal if you own a bike to lock it to something on the street? the rest of the world the thing that kill bikes is not having a place to park around town as you do your thing during the day

10 posted on 05/26/2014 10:01:34 AM PDT by tophat9000 (An Eye for an Eye, a Word for a Word...nothing more.)
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