Share and share not just alike
Want to rent a bike? If you’re in the wrong neighborhood, forget it.
Lower-income communities are getting shut out from bike-sharing programs, and New York City is an especially bad culprit.
The problem with Citibike, New York City’s program, is that it’s largely inaccessible in low-income neighborhoods, writes Noah Zuss on City & State New York, a local politics and policy website.
You can’t find Citibike stations in vast swaths of the city. The Bronx, the country’s poorest urban county, has none. Most of blue-collar Queens is also ignored, as is Manhattan’s least-affluent portion north of 110th Street.
The other problem is cost. Citbike runs $12 per day. It’s $14.95 a month for an annual membership, but you need to have a credit or debit card to sign up, which excludes many low-income New Yorkers. Even Citibike’s discount program for public-housing residents requires a credit or debit card.
It’s a similar story in Boston, Washington, D.C., and Denver: Bike-sharing programs are disproportionately used by affluent white people. Cities have responded with subsidized discount memberships for lower-income residents without much success yet.
What’s the solution? Last month, a report from the National Association of City Transportation Officials suggested month-to-month memberships and cash payments to make bike-sharing more accessible.