New York City Housing Authority tenants are now eligible to sign up for discounted Citi Bike memberships in a program that was first announced last month. Joining the service costs NYCHA residents $60 per year, $35 less than the standard price. All 29 NYCHA properties in the Citi Bike service area have at least one station a block away or closer.
Tenants must use their NYCHA account number and date of birth to qualify for the discount. Citi Bike is open to anyone age 16 or older, although it requires a credit or debit card to sign up for the service.
Bike-share systems across the country have seen low ridership among communities of color and poorer residents, especially those without access to credit cards or bank accounts. In Washington, DC, Capital Bikeshare has partnered with a program that connects low-income people to banking institutions, while Boston subsidizes memberships for low-income residents through its public health commission.
In Minneapolis, one of the biggest barriers to low-income users looking to purchase a daily or weekly pass — a credit card “authorization hold” to safeguard against theft — was reduced and eventually eliminated after bike theft turned out not to be a problem. In New York, Citi Bike will require a $101 authorization hold.
To further lower the barriers to using bike-share, Citi Bike has partnered with credit unions serving low-income populations, known as Community Development Credit Unions, to offer a discount to credit union members. So far, Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union and NYU Federal Credit Union are participating.
Update: “We plan to do at least one outreach meeting/helmet fitting a week at a NYCHA property in the service area all summer long,” DOT spokesperson Seth Solomonow said to Streetsblog via e-mail, adding that there have been bike-share informational events at Farragut Houses, Smith Houses, Elliott Houses, and other NYCHA properties in English, Chinese and Spanish beginning in 2011.