HOBOKEN, NJ - Hoboken will be ushering in a newly-approved contract with Lyft to complete a joint-city agreement with Jersey City to bring in uniform bikeshare services.
Lyft, the parent company of Citi Bike, New York City’s bikeshare services, will bring around 200 bikes and 15 stations into Hoboken by the beginning of May. An additional 100 bikes and 14 stations will be brought in during the summer.
Approved in Wednesday night’s city council meeting with an 8-1 vote, the program will incorporate Hoboken in the interoperable bikeshare system in Jersey City and New York City. Previously, Hoboken partnered with Jersey Bike Share to provide rental bikes throughout the city. However, this became an issue because of neighboring Jersey City use of Citi Bike, making it challenging for riders to commute between cities, and bikes would end up in the wrong stations. Jersey City approved an expansion of their current bikeshare program last week, paving the way for Hoboken to join them and unify their initiatives.
Hoboken Mayor Ravindar Bhalla explained that the Citi Bike program will create a seamless bikeshare system between Hoboken, Jersey City, and New York City at no additional costs.
“The new bike share system will substantially enhance the ability for residents to travel to transportation hubs, patronize our local businesses, visit family and friends, and get to work,” he said in a Facebook post. “Residents have been consistent in their feedback that they wanted Citi Bike to come to Hoboken, and I’m glad we were able to deliver in bringing this program to our Mile Square.
As the program progresses, Lyft will gradually incorporate pedal assist electric bikes (ebikes) into the Hoboken system. Ebikes offer pedaling assistance without using a throttle and have allowed for more inclusive biking, according to Lyft. This is important to various Hoboken council members, as the city struggled with throttle-powered electric scooters in the past.
Although the Citi Bike program received mostly positive comments and feedback, some Hoboken residents expressed some concerns. Andrew Impastato, founder of Parking Dude, urged council members to prioritize current street parking when choosing locations to place the stations.
“If we have to remove one parking spot, we should agree that we should create one parking spot,” he said. “There is no parking in Hoboken, so we can’t be removing spots at all.”
In spite of these concerns, Patrick Conlon, the president of Bike JC, a Jersey City-based bicyclist advocacy group, said that Jersey City’s program has been largely successful and Hoboken should approve the contract.
“Think if Brooklyn and Queens had two different bike share systems, it just wouldn’t make much sense,” he said at the meeting.
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