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Citigroup and MasterCard to sponsor New York City bike-share program

Citigroup has paid $41 million to sponsor the program for five years.

Citibike 2012 04 07Enlarge
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, NYC Dept. of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Citi CEO Vikram Pandit announced that Citi will be the title sponsor for New York City’s new bike share program, “Citi Bike,” on May 7, 2012. (Edward Reed via New York City Mayor's Office/Courtesy)

NEW YORK – Taxpayers won’t pay for the launch of New York City’s bicycle-rental program, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced today. That’s because Citigroup and MasterCard are footing the bill.

Citigroup has paid $41 million to sponsor the program, which starts at the end of July, for five years, the Wall Street Journal reported. MasterCard has contributed $6.5 million and will provide the bike-rental payment system.

The program will offer 10,000 bikes to riders at 600 docking stations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Long Island City, Queens, the Wall Street Journal reported. In honor of the program’s main sponsor, the program will be called “Citi Bikes,” and the heavy-duty bicycles will be painted “Citibank blue” and feature the Citi logo.

New York is a little late to the bicycle-sharing party. Similar programs already exist in Paris, Barcelona, London, Montreal, and Washington, DC, among other cities, according to Bloomberg News.

While New York City’s program will be smaller than the bike-share systems in Paris (20,600 bikes) and Hangzhou, China (60,600 bikes), it will be the largest in the US, Mayor Bloomberg said, according to Bloomberg News.

It will also be relatively expensive, according to Reuters. Riders will pay $10 per day, $25 per week or $95 per year to rent a bike, with additional fees for rides longer than 30 to 45 minutes.

A one time, one-hour ride will cost New Yorkers $14 while a one time, one-hour ride costs £2 ($3.24) for bike-sharers in London, according to Reuters’ columnist Felix Salmon. A six-hour bike-rental that costs $58 in London and $85 in Washington, DC, will cost $131 in New York, he notes.

New York will share any profits from the rentals with the program’s operator, Portland, Ore.-based Alta Bicycle Share, Bloomberg News reported.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120507/citigroup-mastercard-sponsor-ny-city-bike-share