De Blasio Administration Announces Low-Cost Citi Bike Membership Will Be Available to All SNAP Recipients
Change will allow hundreds of thousands of NYC SNAP recipients to be automatically eligible for Citi Bike at $5 per month, expanding access to an affordable transit option
NEW YORK— Mayor Bill de Blasio, DOT and HRA today announced that Citi Bike would become more accessible to New Yorkers, by expanding Citi Bike’s $5 per month membership. Previously only available to NYCHA residents, starting today, New Yorkers who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, will be eligible, bringing Citi Bike to a broader population. More than 1.6 million New Yorkers rely on SNAP to help feed their families every day. The new program is presented by Healthfirst, the largest not-for-profit health insurance plan in New York City, and was announced at the Bed-Stuy Restoration Corporation.
“Affordable bike share for more New Yorkers helps us build a fairer and more equitable city,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Improving mobility for SNAP recipients in our city will help them make ends meet by giving them greater access to jobs, services and educational opportunities.”
To apply for this discount, SNAP recipients can visit the Citi Bike website at citibikenyc.com and enter their EBT card number or NYCHA tenant ID. Citi Bike is partnering with HRA, the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation and other to begin a robust community outreach program with in-person, multilingual sign up opportunities at SNAP enrollment centers, greenmarkets, NYCHA developments, and community centers. NYCHA residents already enrolled in the discount program do not need to reapply.
“Today’s announcement of a new affordable Citi Bike membership for SNAP recipients helps to address the Mayor de Blasio’s goals for a more equitable city, by allowing thousands more New Yorkers to discover cycling — a transit option that is healthy, affordable, and fun,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “It has already been a big summer for bikeshare, as we have already announced that Citi Bike will play a critical role in meeting next year’s L train disruption and are also bringing affordable dockless bike share to outer-borough locations like the Rockaways for the first time. We expect that today’s announcement will allow us to make even more progress, and no better way to make the point than with a bike ride from Bed-Stuy Restoration, where an incredible grassroots effort to embrace Citi Bike over the last two years has led to a dramatic increase in community members hopping on bikes to get around.”
“The convenience, health benefits, and enjoyment of a bike share program are important to all, and we’re proud to work with Citi Bike to put them within reach of even more New Yorkers,” said Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. “SNAP helps over 1.6 million New Yorkers make ends meet and access healthy food – and we’re very pleased that now it also offers access to a convenient, healthy, and fun way to get around the city.”
“This initiative will give 1.6 million New Yorkers who live in NYCHA housing and are recipients of SNAP the opportunity to exercise more and live happier and healthier lives,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “I thank the Mayor, sister agencies and our partners for expanding Citi Bike to a wider community. This new program is about more than increasing transportation options; it is also about improving the health of all New Yorkers.”
“We are proud to support the expansion of Citi Bike among New Yorkers who can benefit most from affordable access to transportation,” said George Hulse, Vice President of Community Engagement, Healthfirst. “As we celebrate 25 years as a trusted partner to our members, providers and sponsor hospitals, this new partnership reaffirms our commitment to helping people live healthier lives — one person – and now one Citi Bike rider – at a time.”
“This initiative, presented by Healthfirst, reinforces our long-standing commitment to making Citi Bike accessible for more New Yorkers,” said Kris Sandor, Citi Bike General Manager. “Just as Citi Bike has made it easier to move around this great city, we will now will make it easier for low-income individuals to enjoy the transportation, health and financial benefits of bike share — all for a monthly membership less than the price of two swipes of a MetroCard.”
“Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation applauds Healthfirst, Citi Bike and NYC for expanding access to SNAP recipients, providing a much needed and affordable transportation alternative, while helping residents save time and lead healthier lives,” said Tracey Capers, EVP Programs, Organizational Development, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. “We are thrilled that our work with the Better Bike Share Partnership has resulted in such a giant step toward promoting equity in access to bike share.”
The new memberships do not require an annual commitment like traditional memberships do and at $5 per month offer a 66% discount off the traditional price. The membership includes rides on 12,000 bikes to more than 750 stations in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. Members will also be able to utilize bike share in Coney Island, where Citi Bike plans to begin a pilot of dockless bikes later this year.
“Access to reliable transportation is essential in this day and age, and that’s why this announcement is a major step in the right direction,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. “Discount Citi Bike memberships for the New Yorkers who need it most will make our city a bit more fair, more healthy, and more fun. I congratulate Mayor de Blasio and DOT on this promising new initiative and I thank Healthfirst on behalf of the 1.6 million people eligible to take advantage of this offer.”
“Bike share must be shared by all New Yorkers, regardless of income. This initiative is a positive sign toward a future where all of our agencies and community partners are pedaling toward a common mission,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “The goal is not just to reach our destination of employment or recreation; it’s to reach a destination of health. Too many people of color and low-income residents walk past healthy alternatives because they think it’s not for them; making Citi Bike affordable for our city’s SNAP recipients is a true game changer.”
“It’s simple — the more New Yorkers can get to where they need to go on two wheels, the happier and healthier they’ll be,” said Council Member Stephen Levin, chair of Council Committee on General Welfare. “This is not just an investment in transportation, it is fundamentally an investment in people. Our City has proven time and time again that our community thrives when we invest in our human capital. I’m excited to see how this expansion of Citi Bike access will improve transportation, health, and wellbeing for New Yorkers everywhere.”
“Reduced Citi Bike memberships for low-income New Yorkers receiving SNAP benefits is a great way to expand access to bikes as a clean and healthy transportation option,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, chair of the Council Committee on Transportation. “Biking to work, school or a doctor’s appointment should not be a luxury or unaffordable.”
“Citi Bike has made a tremendous impact on our city by presenting New Yorkers with an accessible, affordable and eco-friendly way to travel,” said Representative Adriano Espaillat. “Citi Bike has shown its commitment to making their services accessible to all New Yorkers by building docking stations in neighborhoods currently underserved by existing transit infrastructure and now by expanding the option at reduced rates to individuals receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP benefits. Citi Bike rides are safe and convenient, and today’s announcement is a win for all New York City families, commuters, and our entire city.”
“Today’s decision to expand low-cost Citi Bike membership to SNAP recipients is a win-win for New Yorkers, including the people of the Eighth Congressional District,” said Representative Hakeem Jeffries. “Traveling by Citi Bike is a great way to exercise and see the City in an entirely different way, while having the added benefit of easing subway congestion. I am proud this program was announced in Brooklyn, and look forward to seeing many more Citi Bike riders when traveling around the District.”
“I applaud Mayor de Blasio for expanding the $5 monthly Citi Bike membership to over one million more hardworking New Yorkers,” said Representative Nydia M. Velázquez. “As our City prepares for L train service interruptions, expanding affordable cycling options will provide badly needed, additional options for commuters. Over the longer term, we know making cycling a greater part of our transportation mix can reduce pollution and congestion throughout the City. To further mitigate disruptions from major repairs to public transit, I have introduced federal legislation, the Transportation Alternatives Investment Program, which would fund alternative modes of transportation, including cycling. Addressing New York’s transportation challenges requires employing every tool at our disposal and this announcement is a worthwhile step in that direction.”
“By making Citi Bike more accessible, more New Yorkers will have a healthy, environmentally-sustainable and fun transit alternative. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio and DOT Commissioner Trottenberg for their continued efforts to strengthen and expand the Citi Bike program,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman.
“Being able to travel to work, on errands, or for any of life’s essentials is a basic necessity for New York families,” said State Senator Liz Krueger. “That’s why it is vital that we ensure the availability of as many low-cost transportation options as possible for people with limited means. I commend Mayor de Blasio, DOT, and HRA for expanding a program that will help even more New Yorkers get where they need to go.”
“Bike sharing fosters a healthy, active lifestyle while providing a green and sustainable transportation alternative,” said State Senator Jose M. Serrano. “This new partnership will save low-income New Yorkers time and money, as well as improve their quality of life. I thank Mayor de Blasio and Commissioners Trottenberg and Banks for their commitment to equity and for bridging the gap by ensuring that Citi Bike is accessible to all.”
“It’s good news that Citi Bike will be making low-cost Citi Bike memberships available to SNAP recipients,” said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried. “More cycling is better for everyone’s health and for the environment.”
“I am thrilled about the Low-Cost Citi Bike initiative,” said Assembly Member Walter T. Mosley. “The change in the program will allow low-income families to live and enjoy a healthier lifestyle. These New Yorkers will also benefit by having an affordable transportation option. I hope this program encourages more individuals to view cycling as a feasible and affordable transportation option.
“This new initiative to open up affordable bike access to SNAP participants promotes food security, transportation and good health,” said Assembly Member Felix W. Ortiz. “It builds on the national nutrition safety net structure, which we need to keep fighting to protect and strengthen. I urge all bicyclists to obey the traffic laws: stay off the sidewalks, wear a helmet, yield to pedestrians and ride safely.”
“Citi Bike has provided a healthy, reliable, and accessible mode of transportation to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers over the past five years,” said Council Member Robert Cornegy. “Expanding affordable access to the bike share program to the more than 1.6 million New Yorkers receiving SNAP benefits – much like funding half-priced MetroCards for low-income New Yorkers – is the right thing to do and perfectly in line with the goal of making New York the fairest big city in America.”
“In just five short years Citi Bike has fundamentally transformed how New Yorkers get around,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Now it is time to bring that positive change and influence to the 1.6 million families who rely on SNAP to help feed their families every day. This is a significant step in the work to bring equity to our City and will have a very positive impact on the families and individuals who get to enjoy a 66% discount off the traditional price.”
“The expansion of Citi Bike to low-income New Yorkers for just $5 a month is a healthy and fun way to get around the city for an affordable rate,” said Council Member Keith Powers. “And opening up bike share to those with SNAP benefits matches the work the Council has done securing Fair Fares to relieve those who are worried about the cost of a commute. I commend the Mayor for adding another measure to secure affordable transportation for all.”
“I thank the de Blasio administration, the Department of Transportation, and Healthfirst for providing low-cost Citi bike memberships to all SNAP recipients,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “Citi Bike stations have already greatly benefitted residents of my district by providing an environmentally responsible, convenient, and affordable transportation alternative. $5 Citi Bike memberships will ensure that all NYC residents, regardless of economic status, can use this system and realize its benefits. This expansion underscores our commitment to creating a greener and more accessible City—I look forward to continuing to work towards this goal.”
“Access to transit is one of the biggest challenges that low-income New Yorkers face, which is why it’s so exciting to see Citi Bike expand their $5 per month membership to New Yorkers who use SNAP benefits,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera. “I want to thank Mayor De Blasio, lead agencies, and Citi Bike for connecting low-income communities to this vital piece of our city’s infrastructure, and I’m excited to see how the city develops new affordable transportation options for the future.”
“Increasing access to alternative modes of transportation is critical as our city continues to grow,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal. “I commend the de Blasio administration, the Department of Transportation, and the Human Resources Administration for enabling SNAP recipients to have low-cost access to Citi Bike. All New Yorkers should be able to participate in the growing number of options for traveling around our city, especially in light of the upcoming L train shutdown and other major transit projects. And as an avid cyclist, I am thrilled that the City is assisting as many New Yorkers as possible to join in this environmentally friendly, healthy and fun form of transportation.”
For the past three years, Citi Bike, the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, DOT, and New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), have been part of the New York City Better Bike Share Partnership, which aims to improve health and financial outcomes for New Yorkers by developing wide-ranging policies and initiatives to expand equity through and diversity in bike share. This program is part of the Partnership’s larger vision to lower the barriers to bike share by increasing access to more low income New Yorkers.
Since launching on May 27, 2013, Citi Bike has doubled the number of bikes to 12,000, more than doubled the number of stations to 750, and increased membership by more 400 percent, with over 140,000 current members. Stations now extend into Queens, up to 130th Street in Harlem, and cover Brooklyn from Greenpoint to Red Hook and from Park Slope to Bedford Stuyvesant. The system routinely reaches an upwards of 70,000 daily rides during peak seasons and broke its single-day ridership record on June 26 with 80,624 rides in line with four straight years of breaking annual memberships.
Bike share in New York City continues to further the goals of the Administration’s OneNYC goals of becoming the world’s most resilient, equitable and sustainable city, and to expand the use of green and equitable transportation modes. This month the City announced plans to launch dockless bike share pilots in four communities over the summer as part of a summer dockless bikeshare pilot that will operate this summer in the Rockaways, Coney Island, the Fordham area of the Bronx and on the North Shore of Staten Island.
For more information about the de Blasio Administration’s bike share efforts, please see www.nyc.gov/bikeshare