In a joint statement, Mayor Steven Fulop and Jay Walder, president and CEO of Motivate, have announced that Jersey City’s new bike share program will kick off in September. The program will be called Citi Bike Jersey City, and will also allow riders to use the Citi Bike system in New York.
Jersey City originally was to be part of a joint venture with Hoboken and Weehawken. But Fulop announced in January that Jersey City would opt for a program closely aligned with the existing system in New York. This choice will allow a rider in Jersey City to ride a bicycle to the PATH train or ferry, and then once they arrive, use a bicycle to travel around New York.
While Citi Bike Jersey City will cost more for the city to operate than the Hoboken/Weehawken system would, Fulop argued the benefit of being hooked into the New York program is worth the cost.
Fulop managed to raise more than $2.5 million from sponsors to pay for the startup with about 350 bicycles and 35 docking stations.
The founding sponsors for the program included the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, SUEZ North America, CarePoint Health, and Jersey City Medical Center-Barnabas Health.
Citibank, which is the title partner, will have exclusive rights to brand its logos on the bicycles and docking stations. Founding sponsors will be recognized through advertising at selected stations and recognition on the program website, promotional materials, and associated events.
Same as New York City
The bike program will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and has been augmented by the installation of more than 22 miles of new bike lanes throughout Jersey City.
“Jersey City is a diverse community with residents who largely use bikes, mass transit, or walk to work, and the city’s culture and vibrancy make it the perfect place for bike share,” said Mayor Fulop, himself an avid bike rider.
Like the 6,000-bike New York City version of the program, Citi Bike Jersey City will require a $149 annual membership. Signup started on Aug. 5. Those who sign up before the program starts in September will have access to the program in New York City immediately, and can ride in Jersey City on the system’s opening day. The cost is the same in New York and New Jersey. Members are entitled to unlimited use of the system for individual bike trips of up to 45 minutes. Members who use Citi Bikes for longer periods will be charged a graduated fee.
“Jersey City is a diverse community with residents who largely use bikes, mass transit or walk to work.” – Mayor Steven Fulop
According to Walder, Citi Bike has logged more than 19 million trips in New York City since its inception two years ago.
“When we took steps to help make the Citi Bike program a reality in New York, we had high hopes for it,” said Elyse Lesley, managing director of Citi U.S. Consumer and Commerce Banking and CitiMortgage. “But we never imaged it would have this kind of impact on people’s lives.”
A healthy move
Robert A. Marino, chairman of Horizon Foundation for New Jersey and chairman and CEO of Horizon Cross Blue Shield, celebrated the Jersey City program.
“Horizon cares about improving the health of the residents in the diverse communities we serve,” he said, “and promoting physical activity through an innovative bike share program will encourage residents and visitors to get their fitness routine into gear.”
Suez North America is an environmental company that signed on to the program in order to help promote green initiatives.
“As an environmental company, we strive to support initiatives that help people think green and encourage them to lead a healthy life style for themselves and the planet,” said CEO Bertrand Camus. “Teaming up with Mayor Fulop and Jersey City to deliver a bike-share program was an easy decision.”
CarePoint Health said support for the bike-share had a lot to do with its employees.
“With a larger number of our employees living and working here, we are excited to help improve the quality of life in the city we call home,” said Ennis Kelly, chief executive officer for CarePoint.
Jersey City Medical Center President and CEO Joseph Scott said the decision was all about health.
“At Barnabas Health, we belief life is better health,” Scott said. “This program encourages exercise, an important component of our mission for healthier lifestyles.”
Al Sullivan may be reached at email@example.com.