As the city prepares to launch its much-anticipated bike sharing program in two weeks, NY1 this weekend got a first-hand look at the bikes and their docking stations. NY1's Arlene Borenstein filed the following report.
Insert a special key and green light means go at the new Citi-Bike docking stations, like the one located at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Kicking into gear the city’s first bike share program, the city's Department of Transportation this weekend shared an exclusive preview of how the program will work. It launches on Memorial Day, but only yearly members can start riding that day with unlimited 45-minute trips.
Weekly and daily riders start rolling on June 2 with an unlimited number of 30-minute trips.
Getting the bike out of the dock may take some practice.
"You actually want to pull the bike up by the seat, drop it and pull it out," explained Dani Simons of NYC Bike Share.
Six-thousand bikes will be docked at 330 stations in parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan below 59th Street. The DOT says the goal is to eventually have up to 10,000 bikes.
Kiosks will help riders pay, as well as determine which docking stations have a bike available or a spot to drop one off. And actually riding the bike, that's of course easier for some than others.
The program is the largest in the country and is fully funded by Citibank, which has invested more than $40 million.
Hurricane Sandy along with a problem in the program's software delayed the launch by about a year.
And while many are excited to see the city on two wheels, critics charge the bike docking stations are eye sores, are in the way of building entrances, and sacrifice parking spaces.
The DOT, though, disagrees.
"We took less than one percent of parking spaces in putting in the entire system," said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.
An Annual membership costs $95, a week pass is $25 and a 24-hour pass is about $10.
To find out where exactly docking stations are located you can go to citibikenyc.com, and yes there will soon be an app for that.
"We're going to have a Citi-Bike app that will be available for iPhones and Android," Simons said.
Whether or not you agree with the bike share program, the DOT says the city will earn 50 percent of the program's profits without using a penny of taxpayer money.