NYC Council Members and Bikeshare Workers Call on NYC to Get Bike Share Expansion Right

NYC Council Members and Bikeshare Workers Call on NYC to Get Bike Share Expansion Right

June 13, 2018
Contact: Genna Morton, gmorton@council.nyc.gov

New York, NY -- New York City Council Members joined bike-share workers and their union (Transport Workers Union Local 100) to call on the NYC Department of Transportation to get NYC’s bike-share expansion done right.

In response to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement of four bike-share “expansion pilots” last month, the elected officials, workers, and union officials called for the expansion to:

  • Require strong labor standards to support good-paying, union jobs.

  • Establish bike parking rules to prevent the cluttering of dockless bike-share bicycles on already-too-crowded streets.

  • Expedite bike-share expansion citywide, so all neighborhoods can benefit.

  • Ensure that new systems integrate with the existing Citi Bike system, so that New Yorkers do not need to pay twice or face a two-tier bike-share system.

“We want the City to expand bike-share to neighborhoods citywide, and we welcome new technologies. But it has to be done right, and we’re worried that this disconnected pilot approach, with no jobs or parking standards, is on the wrong bike path,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “For a citywide system with strong labor standards, a thoughtful approach to bike parking, and full integration with NYC’s existing system, Citi Bike is the obvious partner and DOT should expedite its expansion citywide. Until then, we are here to demand that other companies selected for pilot programs live up to the standards Citi Bike has already set.”  

 

DOT has yet to announce which of the 12 finalists will be selected for the four pilot neighborhoods.

“Bikeshare has to be expanded all across the city - but not by creating a hodgepodge of different systems and operators, each one with different equipment, different methods of payment and different keys to unlock their bikes,” said TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano, which represents bike-share workers at Citi Bike, as well as other bike-share workers around the country. “That would be like needing a different fare card every time you used a different subway line. If there is expansion, the city must require interoperability with Citi Bike and the right of workers to unionize without interference if they want to.”

“We welcome alternative transportation options that can reduce emissions and traffic congestion while cutting costs for residents and improving health outcomes. However, it’s critical that bike-sharing expansion is thoughtfully planned and executed, while practicing strong labor standards and taking into account the unique needs and circumstances of all of our communities,” says Council Member Mark Treyger.

“I applaud the Department of Transportation on their expansion of the dockless bike-share program,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “Citi Bike stations have greatly benefited residents of my district by providing an environmentally responsible, convenient, and affordable transportation alternative. Now, residents of other outer-borough communities will realize these benefits as well. However, we must ensure that this plan for expansion prioritizes strong labor standards, thoughtful infrastructure design, and integration with our existing Citi Bike system. I look forward to a well thought out expansion of the dockless bike share-program, leading to a greener, more accessible, and equitable city for all.”

“Neighborhoods without Citi Bike should not be left without any bike sharing options. Dockless bike sharing programs can be a good alternative but they need to be done right, with community input and integrated into the existing bike share system. Further, jobs created by dockless biking need to be good paying, union-jobs,” said Council Member Justin Brannan.

Since Citi Bike was first rolled out five years ago, the City Council fought for its expansion to neighborhoods across the city. Citi Bike already operates a high-functioning bike share program with over 250,000 members, reaching highs of over 74,000 daily trips this past summer. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers rely on Citi Bike to get to and from the train (making subway and bus commuting easier), between appointments, to school or work, to run errands to local stores, etc. And Citi Bike provides hundreds of high-quality, good-paying, union jobs.

Last month, Mayor de Blasio and the New York City Department of Transportation announced that a dockless bike-share pilot would be coming to four neighborhoods across the city (Rockaways, Coney Island, Bronx, and Staten Island). The expansion includes dockless and pedal-assist bicycles, which have the potential to expand transportation in neighborhoods deprived of connections, create more affordable transit options for all New Yorkers, and help reduce NYC’s carbon footprint.

Though NYC Council Members and TWU support these goals of bike share expansion, they called on the City to prioritize strong labor standards to ensure that new bike-share programs will create good jobs for New Yorkers; provide a thoughtful plan for bike-parking, to ensure that already crowded streets and sidewalks avoid the clutter and masses of bikes that other cities around the world have experienced; and establish successful integration with the current CitiBike system, so New Yorkers won’t be forced to pay twice, or be stuck with competing memberships.

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