After ten years, Citi Bike has grown into one of the most important means of transportation for America’s largest city—and there are lessons to be learned from its success.
- Bicycle rental service Citi Bike celebrated a decade of service in New York City on Memorial Day, having launched its service in 2013.
- The celebration came just weeks after the service hit its highest ridership numbers yet, with 867,838 during the second week of May, or roughly 124,000 rentals per day. The service plans to expand to 40,000 bikes by the end of next year.
- In a recent op-ed for Streetsblog NYC, The War of Cars podcast host Doug Gordon discusses how Citi Bike has become a growing and important part of transportation in New York City.
Why It’s Important
Gordon says three primary lessons should be taken away from the success of Citi Bike—to have brave leaders willing to make a change, to embrace ambitious ideas, and to execute those ideas quickly and efficiently. The company launched out of the gate with a large rollout of 6,000 bikes and faced initial skepticism from the public. The successful launch of a large system allowed Citi Bike to progressively grow a strong reputation against the tide of local publications and businesses who feared it would have a negative impact on the city.
“All three of these lessons complement each other. It takes great leadership to propose big things, implement them quickly and have the confidence to stick them out, especially in the face of opposition. Human brains are hard-wired to resist change, but as Citi Bike has proven, it can happen quickly and be as easy as riding a bike,” says Gordon.
He calls the vision of Citi Bike a success and applauded the leadership of the then-DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg for helping facilitate the rise of the company through their decision-making, creating an unprecedented success story and one of the largest bike rental systems on the planet. This move could have only been done with brave visionary leaders.
“We will never get tired of saying it, no matter how many times it happens: more New Yorkers are hitting the road on bikes—especially Citi Bikes—and shattering ridership records. Riders have made Citi Biking a verb for a reason—it is a fast, reliable, equitable, and sustainable transportation option that connects riders with everything our great city has to offer,” says Citi Bike associate general manager Patrick Knoth.