Hoboken and Jersey City officials coalesced at the Mile Square City’s Pier A Park this afternoon to finally kickoff their Citi Bike expansion that was years in the making.
“There was a little bit of a dissonance between the bike shares that we had: Jersey City and New York City had Citi Bike, which fit together, we had another provider that was not Citi Bike. We’d spoken, once I got elected, about how we could make things easier for our residents,” Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla said at the press conference.
“The residents in Jersey City, the residents in Hoboken, and really just kind of exercised some common sense. When you’re living in Hoboken and working in Jersey City, or living in Hoboken and working in Manhattan, we want to try and make it as easy as possible.”
Hoboken entered into an agreement with Hudson Bike Share in 2015, but after years of negotiating on and off, their city council, as well as their counterparts in Jersey City, approved an agreement with Lyft (who owns Citi Bike) earlier this year.
The agreement nets Hoboken 300 Citi Bikes and 29 bike stations for the first time, while Jersey City’s program now has 650 Citi Bikes and 53 bike stations.
“Today is really a significant day for micro-transit systems in Hudson County and it speaks to what’s possible when mayors work together … We’ve tried to focus on giving opportunities to people who move around in areas of the city who necessarily didn’t have that,” noted Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop.
” … So we started with bike share, we expanded to Via, we wanted bike share to integrate more with Hudson County – Ravi and Hoboken were terrific partners, they were proactive – and it’s exciting for anyone who lives in the area here.”
Jersey City’s end of the agreement established 15 new bike stations, including two in Greenville, which is much appreciated according to their local representative, Ward A Councilwoman Denise Ridley.
“Citi Bike was throughout Jersey City and in the Ward A section, recently our bike stations were removed for low ridership. Since that time, we’ve lost bus lines in the area, we’ve tried to improve transportation by adding a city ride share program, so bringing Citi Bike back to the area is definitely needed.”
For $179 per year, annual members can take as many 45-minute rides as they like on a classic bike or upgrade to an e-bike for an additional 10 cents per minute, while single ride on a classic pedal bike costs $3 for up to 30 minutes.
For an additional 15 cents per minute, riders can upgrade to an e-bike.
“When you think about really fulfilling those transportation needs, first and last mile, getting people out of an individual car and creating that level of convenience across both sides of the Hudson – we’re really excited to provide this service and to watch it move forward,” added Citi Bike General Manager Laura Fox.
Additionally, Hoboken’s contract with Lyft includes substantially discounted Citi Bike memberships for SNAP recipients and residents of the Hoboken Housing Authority: with a monthly cost of just $5, noted HHA Chair Dave Mello, a former councilman.
“That’s fantastic news … and it’s much needed because our residents, often, they can’t afford a gym, they can’t afford some of the more convenient means of mass transportation, so to provide a method of mass transportation that’c convenient, cost friendly, and also provides a little exercise is a win-win-win.”
Additionally, Hoboken Councilman-at-Large Jim Doyle is one of the co-founders of Hobiken, the predecessor to Bike Hoboken, and he had shared some thoughts regarding that journey.
“I know you’re probably thinking ‘wow, like that’s an ingenuous name’ and I have to admit that I had a little something to do with that,” he joked.
“So it was a great project, but it had it’s limitations – we only had one location in the Symposium Book Store and it lasted for a number of years and it somewhere waned away, and in its wake, in the ashes of Hobiken, Bike Hoboken was formed … Not withstanding their lackluster creativity in the name, they are very important advocates for Hoboken.”
Other dignitaries in attendance included Hoboken Council members Mike DeFusco, Tiffanie Fisher, Phil Cohen, and Emily Jabbour, Hoboken Director of Transportation and Parking Ryan Sharp, Jersey City Director of Transportation Planning Barkha Patel, Bike Hoboken member Emmanuelle Morgen, Bike JC President Patrick Conlon, Chief Municipal Prosecutor/Ward E council candidate Jake Hudnut, and Jersey City Business Administrator John Metro.