If essential workers are able and willing, CitiBike will be offering an extension on a free month of rides as the COVID-19 pandemic winds down, any additional waves pending.
With a $1 million additional commitment to their Critical Workforce Program that already singed 5,500 new customers, CitiBike will also be expanding to new parts of the city with 100 new stations in the Bronx and Manhattan. Central to the expansion will be locations where essential workers frequent such as Lincoln Hospital and Harlem Hospital.
“They created something called a critical workforce program, they gave first responders, transit workers, health care workers, a free month of membership and 5,500 of them signed up and took advantage of that and were able to get around using Citi Bike.,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in his Thursday morning press briefing. “And it will help everyone, these new stations of course will be open to all and they’ll give more and more options to more and more people, so that’s a great, great step forward.”
The announcement comes after two major breakthroughs in transit as a measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Early in the week, Council Speaker Corey Johnson leveraged the de Blasio administration into creating 100 miles of roadway that would facilitate social distancing for pedestrians, whether that means widening sidewalks or banning cars, and expand bike lanes.
Then on Thursday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the MTA would be shutting down the subways between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. to sanitize stations and train cars. This plan, formulated by the MTA after instructed to do so by Cuomo, was meant to ensure that the workplace for transit workers was safe as well as commuters, despite a 92% plunge in ridership.
The city and the state agreed to work together to provide other options to commuters during those late-night hours, but CitiBike – under the ownership of Lyft, could bridge the gap.
“With New Yorkers stepping up in an extraordinary way to serve their communities in the fight against COVID-19,” Caroline Samponaro, who leads Micromobility and Transit Policy at Lyft, said. “This program is a central component of LyftUp, our comprehensive effort to expand transportation access to all and provide free rides to those who need them most right now.”
The deadline for frontline workers to either renew their free subscription or sign up for the first time is May 31.
This story first appeared on amny.com.