Citi Bike set a new ridership record on Thursday, when a whopping 138,372 New Yorkers hopped on one of the ubiquitous blue bikes that span most of the city, with the highest ridership during the morning and evening rush hour — a sign that New Yorkers are relying on two wheels to commute after the unofficial end of summer.
“Every September, we see a combination of ideal temperatures, the first day of school, and riders returning from vacation, fueling big numbers [but] even stronger this year than ever before,” said Laura Fox, general manager of Citi Bike for Lyft.
Between 8 and 9 a.m. and 9 and 10 a.m., New Yorkers took 9,719 and 8,164 rides, respectively; and between 5 and 6 p.m. and 6 and 7 p.m., Citi Bike logged 12,620 and 14,413, respectively.
And some of the biggest ridership was in the Central Business District, like in the neighborhoods of Chelsea, with 9,790 rides, Midtown East, with 6,471, and Hells Kitchen, with 5,934, according to the company.
The bike-share system still omits large swaths of the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens, and the entire borough Staten Island. And plans to expand in Ridgewood and Maspeth have been sitting in limbo thanks to local Council Member Bob Holden, who demanded that no parking spaces be repurposed for Citi Bike docks, sources told Streetsblog last month.
If Citi Bike were its own transit agency, its ridership levels would make it the 25th most-ridden transit service in the country last year, larger than BART in the San Francisco Bay Area and almost as well-used as the PATH train. https://t.co/C93n0CxzsO
— Transportation Alternatives (@TransAlt) September 9, 2022
Citi Bike was able to bounce back quickly from a rocky start of summer, when some of its bikes were “out of service” at a higher rate than normal, sometimes 50 percent more than last year, Streetsblog reported at the time.
And even a heat wave couldn’t stop people from riding. When temperatures soared into the 90s the first week of August, the bike-share system still logged about 120,000 trips each day.
But Citi Bike wasn’t the only transportation system to hit a new record this past week. The subway enjoyed 3.61 million riders on Thursday, the MTA announced Friday — the highest number since the pandemic began in earnest in March, 2020. As good as it was, Thursday’s ridership was still 63 percent off pre-pandemic normals.