by Chris Weibel
I’ve been a resident of Manhattan for eight years so I like to think I’ve seen it all around New York City-- both good and bad. But, the city did something this summer that was 100% different. Citi Bike, the city’s bikeshare system, is the one innovation that has had the most profound impact on my everyday life. Here is why Citi Bike is such a game changer:
Prior to Citi Bike, my daily commute to work took nearly an hour to travel the two miles between my apartment in Gramercy and my office in the Financial District. I would walk 15 minutes to the 23rd and Park Subway station and usually wait 5-10 minutes for the 6 Train. Once on the subway, it would be another 20 minutes to arrive get to the City Hall/Brooklyn Bridge station and another five minute walk to my office. Total travel time was usually close to an hour.
When Citi Bike was introduced, they installed a bike station directly in front of my building. Now my daily commute has been cut down to about 25 minutes. I bike down the East River (which has surprisingly good views and no cabs or buses speeding by you). I get a nice workout in to start the day and knock a half hour off my commute each way.
Saving time getting to/from work in New York City is obviously great, but there are so many additional benefits to bikeshare beyond a faster commute. If I am traveling alone, I use it to get everywhere in the city because there are stations practically every three blocks. Using Citi Bike is healthy, better for the environment and surprisingly fun. Considering how often I use the service, the $95 annual fee is a great value.
My only overall suggestion to improve the service in the city would be to add more dedicated bike lanes. The safer the city can make it for cyclists, the better it will be for everyone.
Chris Weibel is a guest contributor for TransitScreen. He works in the finance industry in Manhattan and uses Citi Bike to get to and from work every day.