Despite impressive first-year numbers and a ridership that’s unafraid of a little cold weather, Citi Bike needs cash. According to the Wall Street Journal, the bikeshare program is losing money, and leaders at the organization are hoping to raise tens of millions of dollars to rescue it.
Part of the problem is that long-term Citi Bike passes are much more popular than single trips, which have the potential to generate more revenue. Equipment damage during Hurricane Sandy also haven’t helped, and the program has seen a series of operational snags as well.
Bike share operations in other systems function with the help of public funds, but Citi Bike is designed to run like a business — its cash flow comes solely from riders and corporate sponsors. If it’s hurting this badly, why not direct a few tax dollars its way?