Earlier this year, the future of NYC’s Citi Bike looked bleak after reports of “significant financial and operational issues,” but a multimillion-dollar deal expected to close in a week is poised to keep the bike-share program rolling. According to the Wall Street Journal, REQX Ventures, an affiliate of real-estate tycoon Related Companies, has been in talks with Citi Bike operator Alta Bicycle Share Inc. for several months. The new investment could double Citi Bike’s fleet and expand the program’s footprint to upper Manhattan, southern Brooklyn and Queens.
Despite Citi Bike’s popularity, the bike-share program was never able to turn a profit, which led many to wonder if it was headed towards an early demise. If the windfall investment comes through, however, Citi Bike is poised to nearly double the number of bikes in its fleet from 6,200 to 12,000. An undisclosed sourced told the Wall Street Journal that the total costs for the program’s expansion and improvements to its buggy software are estimated at about $40 million. In return for their investment, REQX Venture would gain a controlling stake into Alta and its growing bike-share reach across the nation.
While the city’s Department of Transportation has yet to approve the proposed bike-share expansion, a spokesman for Mayor de Blasio said that they were “committed to making New York City’s bike share program more reliable and more accessible to neighborhoods across the city.” Even if the multimillion-dollar deal moves forward, however, Citi Bike may still increase its annual membership of $95 to $140.
Lead image © Joseph Buxbaum