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Here's how NYC's new bike-sharing program works

NYC DOT introduced privately funded bike share system,

NYC DOT introduced privately funded bike share system, at Broadway and 23rd Street. (RJ Mickelson/amNY) Photo Credit: NYC DOT introduced privately funded bike share system, at Broadway and 23rd St. (RJ Mickelson/amNY)

The city announced Wednesday its plans to have 10,000 rental bikes around Gotham by next summer. Here’s a look at some of the program’s details:

Can I borrow a bike for more than the allotted 30-45 minutes?
Yes, but you’ll be charged for it. While the final prices haven’t been set, Alta Bicycle Rental’s other operations charge extra for each additional 30 minutes of use, and the price quickly goes up. The fees are meant to discourage people from taking bikes for a while — Alta recommends you go to a local bike shop if you want a longer rental. Annual passes will go for about $100. Daily and weekly passes will also be available.

What happens if I get a flat tire or my bike gets damaged while I’m riding, or I don’t realize it’s broken before I rent it?
If it’s broken, put it back on the rack and press the red button on the dock to report it before taking another one. If you get a flat, walk it to the nearest rack and do the same.

Who’s responsible if I hurt myself while riding?
You are. Be careful and watch out for potholes. Alta will maintain the bikes, but you absolve Alba of responsibility when you sign up.

Will the city provide us with other safety gear or helmets?
No, but users will be sent coupons to buy their own at a discount. The transportation department has also given out more than 50,000 free helmets since 2007, and will continue the program.

Where will these bike racks be? Aside from Manhattan and northwest Brooklyn, will the bikes be installed elsewhere in the city?
You can suggest a location at The 600 racks will first be installed in Manhattan and some parts of Brooklyn. They’ll get to the other ‘hoods later, based on demand.

Do I have to carry my own chain and lock?
You do, but you’re better off returning it to a bike rack, since they’ll be every three or four blocks in more central neighborhoods.

Are the bikes hard to ride? Are they one-size fits all?
Weighing approximately 42 pounds, they offer a sturdy, smooth ride. They have three speeds and a basket in front with a bungee cord to hold your stuff. An easy latch adjusts the seat’s height.

What happens if nobody uses the bikes? Will the city be on the hook for the tab?
Alta has a five-year lease with the city, and will put up all the money for the program. They’ll look for sponsors to splash their companies’ names on the bikes and stands, and the city will share any profits.


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