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Citi Bike and East River Ferry Hit Ridership Records in 2016, City Says

By Shaye Weaver | December 29, 2016 2:09pm | Updated on December 30, 2016 10:30am
 More Citi Bikes were used than ever in 2016, according to the mayor's office.
More Citi Bikes were used than ever in 2016, according to the mayor's office.
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DNAinfo/Shaye Weaver

NEW YORK CITY — New Yorkers are commuting by Citi Bike and the East River Ferry more than ever.

Ridership numbers skyrocketed for both modes of transportation in 2016 — with 40 percent more Citi Bike rides (14 millions trips) and 8 percent more ferry rides (1.5 million trips), city officials said Thursday.

During peak months — September, October and August, in that order — there was an average of 52,000 Citi Bike trips per day this year, right on par with taxi and Staten Island Ferry rides, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio's office. On Oct. 19 specifically, there was a record 70,000 trips taken.

Its lowest ridership months were in December, February and January, when average daily ridership was roughly 20,000 trips, according to Motivate, the company that operates the bike share.

Last year, 10 million Citi Bike rides were taken, but since then, 139 stations and 2,000 bikes were added as part of an expansion of the bike system from Harlem to Red Hook.

The city plans on increasing the number of bikes from 6,000 to 12,000, and expand to Astoria, Prospect Heights and Crown Heights in 2017.

It won't be expanding into The Bronx or Staten Island any time soon despite Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez's call for the use of public money to do so.

“Citi Bike’s latest record shows that bike share is fulfilling its promise as a vital part of New York’s transportation network — increasing access to the city’s transit network and communities underserved by public transit,” said Jay Walder, the president and CEO of Motivate. “Citi Bike riders are regularly taking 60,000 rides daily during peak months, and that number keeps growing thanks to innovative partnerships across the city that encourage people of all backgrounds to give blue bikes a try.”

A Citi Bike day pass is $12, a three-day pass is $24, and there is an annual unlimited-ride membership for $155, according to Citi Bike's website.

Commuters are also taking to the water to get from point A to B more than they have in recent years — in 2016, ridership on the East River Ferry increased by 8 percent, from 1.4 million trips taken in 2015 to 1.5 million, according to the city's Economic Development Corporation.

The North Sixth Street/North Williamsburg ferry terminal was the most active stop in 2016, and the Brooklyn Bridge/DUMBO stop had the most weekend activity. The highest ridership day was seen May 20, with 10,510 passengers, officials said.

“More and more New Yorkers are looking to our waterways to get to work or school, and that’s led to increased East River Ferry ridership for the fourth year in a row," said Maria Torres-Springer, EDC's president.

Hornblower Inc., a San Francisco-based company that has been operating the State of Liberty ferry concession since 2008, was recently chosen to run the citywide ferry service that will launch next summer and has already taken over the operation of East River Ferry routes and will roll them into the citywide system by summer 2017.

The Citywide Ferry, which will have 19 vessels that stop at 21 landings across the city, will complete 4.6 million trips per year across six routes, the EDC said.

The EDC has touted that the price of a Citywide Ferry ride will be equivalent to the price of a subway ride at $2.75, but subway rides will increase to $3 in 2017. The cost of a ferry ride will remain at $2.75 for the 2017 launch, but will "ultimately keep pace with subway fare," according to Anthony Hogrebe, a spokesman for the EDC.