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Downtown Rental Shop Takes On Citi Bike With its Own Share Program

 New Downtown Bike Rental Challenges CitiBike
Bike Rental Shop Challenges Citi Bike
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LOWER MANHATTAN — The owner of a new Downtown bike rental shop is trying to give Citi Bike a run for its money.

Yasin Ugdar, who’s rented bikes through his shop near Central Park for several years, is opening a new storefront on South Street, a few blocks from the Brooklyn Bridge — and expanding his own version of a bike share program.

“Citi Bike has been tough on our business,” said Ugdar, whose new shop, Brooklyn Bridge Sightseeing, is slated to open next week at 110 South St. “We’ve taken a big hit, but we think there’s room for both of us.”

More than a year ago, Ugdar started offering his customers at Central Park Sightseeing several bike “share” packages — aside from just hourly or day rates.

Bikers can choose from three monthly deals: $10 for two hours of riding a day, $15 for three hours daily or $20 for four hours.

He also has three yearly plans: $99 annually for two hours of daily biking, $149 for 3 hours and $199 for four hours.

The Citi Bike share program, in contrast, offers a $95 annual membership, with unlimited trips, but bikes must be docked every 45 minutes. Citi Bike also has a $10 rate or $25 weekly rate, with unlimited 30-minute bike rides.

“We’re about leisure, about exercise — Citi Bike is transportation,” Ugdar said, adding that he gives cyclists a chance to take longer rides without the hassles and costs that come with owning a bike, and without having to dock their rides every 45 or 30 minutes.

Ugdar said his rental plans “fill the Citi Bike gaps.”

So far, Ugdar said he has more than 1,000 customers signed on to what he calls his “unlimited biking.”

In the coming months, Ugdar plans to start working with a parking garage company with multiple locations across the city, so he can offer more drop-off points for his bikes, to better compete with Citi Bike, which launched in May with more than 300 docking stations. 

"Citi Bike is a like a share monopoly, and it's not perfect, they have problems with the service," said Ugdar. "We're here to offer an alternative — we have more of personal touch and can offer a biking experience that Citi Bike can't.

"I think Citi Bike has made biking more popular," he added. "The city is big enough for the both of us."