The remnants of Hurricane Ida dumped a record amount of rain on New York City, bringing much of its transportation system to a standstill. Roads, highways and subway tunnels were flooded, creating a slowdown even into Thursday morning. While thousands of transportation workers made a heroic effort to get the city back on track, Citi Bike was there to get people where they needed to go in the meantime and it broke its single day ridership record with 126,360 rides on Thursday, September 2. Just as bikes provided a lifeline for New Yorkers during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012 - and during the early months of the COVID-19 crisis in 2020 - bikes continue to prove themselves as a vital, resilient form of transportation that works for New Yorkers even as the world is increasingly impacted by extreme weather events.
“Bikeshare is not just a highly sustainable mode of transportation, it’s also a resilient one,” said Laura Fox, General Manager of Citi Bike at Lyft. “As we promote biking to reduce our carbon emissions from transportation in the fight against climate change, it can also help us adapt to its effects as a backstop to the subway system. Last week’s record ridership in the wake of Hurricane Ida proves that.”
The Citi Bike system has shown it can quickly bounce back from extreme rain, with infrastructure built to withstand the elements year round. In addition, with battery and solar-powered stations, Citi Bike can keep running in the event of a blackout or storm-related electrical shortage.
Citi Bike’s resilience has been put to the test over the past two years and it has continually shown it is up to the challenge. Ridership reached record levels late last summer, returning to pre-pandemic levels faster than other transportation modes, and was a trusted choice for thousands of frontline workers. In 2021, Citi Bike already broke its daily ridership record seven times, besting its previous record of 126,099 daily rides on July 24th. Impressively, the system has been averaging over 100,000 rides per day since June, with more than three million rides per month in June, July and August, a more than 20 percent increase from 2020 ridership.
Citi Bike is the most widely used bike share system in the nation and the largest bike share network in the world outside of China. As part of a five-year $100 million expansion funded by Lyft, there are now 23,500 bikes, including 4,500 ebikes, across more than 1,500 stations. This year, City Bike has expanded its service area to include new parts of Astoria, Sunset Park, and Inwood, and the West Bronx, as well as expanding existing stations with additional docks to accommodate increased demand.