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Cheaper Commutes Could Help Citi Bikes go All-City

Cheaper Commutes Could Help Citi Bikes go All-City
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Rep. Crowley pushes for pre-tax commuter benefits for bike share users.

Rep. Joe Crowley thinks he has a way to get Citi Bike to expand into part of his central Queens district.  He's introducing a bill in the House to make bike share riders eligible for pre-tax commuter benefits.  It would effectively lower the price of a Citi Bike yearly pass - and then, Crowley thinks, supply and demand would take hold.

"I know my community, I know my constituency wants this program out here," he said at a press conference in Jackson Heights this afternoon. "And the faster, the quicker, the sooner, the better. Anything we can do to help promote that we're gonna do that."

The tax-credit would apply to bike-share programs nationwide, and Crowley said he's already gotten buy-in from representatives from other cities with programs like Portland, Oregon.

Queens doesn't have the bike-friendly reputation of Portland, but you wouldn't know that at Diversity Plaza on Broadway in Jackson Heights.  Plaza manager Agha M. Saleh says says he loves bikes, but some days so many cycles are parked there that it's ugly. He's looking to get a bike rack for the small plaza.

"In two years before, no bikers were here. Now we see every day it's growing."

Citi Bike's plans to expand beyond its current boundaries are on hold as the system deals with financial issues and bankruptcy from a major parts supplier, but Crowley's head is unbowed.

"Eventually it'll get here," he said, "we're just trying to speed it up a bit."