Citi Bike Adding 4,000 Electric Bicycles, $2 Surcharge for Each Ride

Feb 28, 2019

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With modest fanfare last August, Citi Bike began rolling out its first electric bicycles, giving New Yorkers a powered boost when navigating the city’s various bridges and (limited) hills. I rode one on Day 1, and a handful of times since — overall, the e-bikes have been a great addition, and they haven’t cost a penny more to use.

That changes after April 27, 2019, when Citi Bike plans to introduce a new $2/ride surcharge for all annual subscribers, while electric bikes cost $2 more per ride for all day-pass riders right away. Some members clearly aren’t happy — TPG reader Alejandro Alvarez went so far as to call the surcharge a “slap in the face” — and the move could prove incredibly costly for riders who choose to go electric.

Assuming New Yorkers begin using electric bikes for their daily round-trip commutes, they’re looking at an additional charge of $2/ride twice a day. Assuming 48 weeks with Citi Bike commutes — estimating four weeks for vacations, holidays and rough weather — that’s $960 per year, plus the $169/year annual pass.

While you could theoretically buy your own e-bike for the cost of a year of electric Citi Bike rides, you’d have to deal with charging, storage and upkeep, not to mention the fact that utilizing a sharing program is far more convenient, since bikes are always just a short walk away. And, fortunately, Citi Bike isn’t raising rates for “classic” bikes — conventional bicycles won’t cost extra, and you’ll still have a chance to get your usual en-route workout, too.

Featured photo by Zach Honig/TPG.

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