New York bike enthusiasts will have to wait until May for what could become the largest bicycle-sharing program in the United States, due to damage caused by Superstorm Sandy.
The delay — announced Monday — marked the second time that transportation officials pushed back the rollout for Citi Bike, a self-service bike rental program. Its launch will also be scaled back to 5,500 bikes at nearly 300 stations in the Manhattan and Brooklyn areas.
A surge caused by Sandy, the late October storm that plowed into the US northeast, flooded the system’s equipment housed at a Brooklyn Navy Yard facility.
Much of the electronics in the bikes were damaged, and must be refurbished or replaced, though some of the bike frames and hardware remained fully functional.
“DOT has worked around the clock to restore vital transportation links following the storm and that includes putting Citi Bike on the road to recovery,” said New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.
“Despite the damage, New York will have the nation’s largest bike share system up and running this spring.”
By the end of the year, the program will expand to 7,000 bikes and 420 stations, including in Queens. And it is set to reach 10,000 bikes at 600 stations across the three boroughs.
Citi Bike was originally set to launch in July and was then delayed to March over software concerns. Citigroup has provided $41 million to help finance the system.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]