New York Launches Bike Share Program

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Late May of this year saw a major change take place on the streets of New York as the city launched its first new wide-scale public transportation in more than 75 years. They've already got taxis, subways, ferries, buses and their own two feet: so what were New Yorkers missing? A bike share program.

On May 27, a fleet of 6,000 bikes located at more than 300 docking stations became available to the public, with plans to almost double that number in the next year. The bike share program (called Citi Bike) is the largest in the U.S.

Residents of New York City can buy an annual pass for $95, but the bikes are also available to tourists, who can purchase a 24-hour or 7-day pass. The 24 hour pass is $10 and the 7-day pass only $25. Included in that price are unlimited 45-minute trips on the bicycles.

Like in Paris, Montreal, London and many other cities around the world, the bike share system is designed for commuting from one place to another, rather than cruising around all day. That being said, it's simple to return a bike to a docking station when your 45 minutes is up, then check it out again a minute later if you're not done with it - the 45 minute limit refreshes.

To make it easy to find a nearby docking station, users have access to a Citi Bike app on their smartphones. And of course there are paper maps with stations marked for those of us without a data plan.

We've written before about the joys of touring by bike. Cycling is a fantastic way to see a city like New York - it's a lot more fun than heading underground via subway, less likely to get you in a traffic jam than taking the bus, and more efficient than walking absolutely everywhere.

Our guides in New York are familiarizing themselves with the new transportation system so they'll be able to explain to you exactly how to use the Citi Bikes should you wish to take one (or two or three) out for a spin during your time there.
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