Hoboken will now use Citi Bike as its bike-share provider after the City Council adopted a resolution approving the joint agreement with the company and Jersey City.
Starting May 3, Lyft, the owner of Citi Bike, will begin phasing in approximately 200 bikes at 15 stations within the mile-square city.
By this summer, Lyft will add another 100 bikes and another 14 stations for a total of 300 bikes and 29 stations.
“I’m thrilled that Citi Bike is now officially coming to Hoboken,” said Mayor Ravi Bhalla. “The new bike-share system will substantially enhance the ability for residents to travel to transportation hubs, patronize our local businesses, visit family and friends, and get to work. And now, residents can seamlessly utilize Citi Bike in neighboring Jersey City and New York City at no additional cost, providing additional connectivity and convenience for users. Residents have been consistent in their feedback that they wanted Citi Bike to come to Hoboken, and I’m glad we were able to deliver in bringing this program to our Mile Square.”
Hub and spokes
With the approval of the agreement, Hoboken, Jersey City, and New York City are part of a unified bike-share system making travel among all three locations simpler.
Previously, Hoboken had a different bike-share provider than Jersey City making commuting between the two more difficult as neither had the other’s docking stations.
But Hoboken and Jersey City decided to look for a joint system last year. The Jersey City Council approved the contract with Lyft last month.
According to the five-year agreement, Jersey City will have 53 stations and 650 bikes, for a total of 950 throughout the entire Hoboken-Jersey City system. “We’ve worked hard over the last year to ensure that Hoboken has one of the best bike-share programs in the country,” said Ryan Sharp, Hoboken’s Director of Transportation and Parking. “Having an interoperable program with Jersey City and New York will be a game-changer for improving regional mobility and connectivity for Hoboken residents, visitors, and commuters.”
Under the agreement, Jersey City and Hoboken will subsidize the program, paying $600,000. About $200,000 will be paid by Hoboken, and about $400,000 by Jersey City.
According to General Manager for Citi Bike at Lyft Laura Fox, these funds are expected to be reimbursed once the program gets corporate sponsorship. Due to the pandemic, finding sponsorship has been difficult.
Lyft will pay a concession fee to Hoboken and Jersey City of five percent of its annual ridership revenue in excess of $2 million.
“We’re excited to welcome Citi Bike to Hoboken,” said Chris Adair, president of Bike Hoboken. “Having the same bikeshare as Jersey City and New York City will improve the experience for all bikeshare users. We applaud the Hoboken and Jersey City councils for recognizing that bikeshare is valuable enough to subsidize and hope both cities will work together to prioritize a protected bike lane that will safely connect our communities.”
Hoboken has built a network of on-street bicycle lanes across 40 percent of the city’s streets. Together Hoboken and Jersey City have about 75 miles of protected bike lanes, conventional bike lanes, and shared lanes.
Last month, Hoboken announced that it received a $325,000 grant from the New Jersey Department of Transportation to construct protected bike lanes on Sinatra Drive between Fourth and 11 streets, connecting the South Waterfront Bikeway to the two-way bikeway on Sinatra Drive North.
Introducing pedal assist e-bikes
According Lyft’s Fox, 40 percent of the system will be composed of pedal assist e-bikes, which do not have a motor or throttle. These bikes allow cyclists of varying physical abilities to take longer rides, easily climb hills, and arrive at their destinations more quickly.
They can reach up to 18 MPH.
With an 8-1 vote, the council introduced an ordinance that would prohibit low-speed electric bicycles and motorized bicycles from being ridden on sidewalks, in parks, and on portions of the Waterfront Walkway
According to the city, the pedal-assist e-bikes will be slowly phased in over the course of four months and will begin with 40 e-bikes in the Hoboken system by May 3.
“This is a big step toward continuing to grow Citi Bike’s role as a truly regional bike share program that meets the first- and last-mile commute needs of New Jersey residents, who often have bikeshare transportation needs on both sides of the Hudson,” Fox said. “With the addition of pedal-assist ebikes and transit planning in both the Lyft and Citi Bike apps, Citi Bike riders in New Jersey will have more ways to get around that are fast, affordable, and convenient.”
Cost of riding
Yearly membership costs $179 and includes unlimited 45-minute rides on either a classic Citi Bike or e-bike, for an additional $0.10 per minute.
Residents of the Hoboken Housing Authority and SNAP recipients can pay $5 a month for membership which includes 45 minutes rides.
Veterans will receive a discounted membership at $35 a year for 45-minute rides.
For those without a membership, a single ride on a classic pedal bike will cost $3 for up to 30 minutes, and an additional $0.15 per minute to upgrade to a pedal-assist e-bike.