HOBOKEN and JERSEY CITY, NJ - After years of competing programs, and a sometimes contentious relationship, Jersey City and Hoboken have finally come to an agreement to combine their bike-sharing services.
The joint announcement made by Hoboken Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla and Jersey City Mayor Steve M. Fulop created Lyft/Citi Bike as the selected bike share provider for a unique partnership to expand regional connectivity and mobility within two of New Jersey’s largest and most advanced transportation hubs. The new program will be interoperable with Citi Bike NYC, so members of the Hoboken-Jersey City Bike Share Program can rent Citi Bikes in New York at no additional cost.
Jersey City, which launched its bikeshare program in 2015, originally planned to partner with Hoboken and Weehawken before Fulop changed direction, deciding to mesh the local program with the highly successful Citi Bike program in New York City.
Hoboken, Bayonne and other municipalities went with their own program called Hudson Bike Share, which left many residents of Hudson County to pick or choose which program to sign up for.
There were territorial disputes as well, when Hoboken parked their bicycles in public bicycle racks in places like Exchange Place, prompting a war of words between the two municipalities. Jersey City also ran afoul of Hudson County when its vendor inadvertently set up bicycle station on county property such as near Lincoln Park.
The new joint effort between the competing programs will allow people to have full mobility, officials said.
“It’s a pivotal moment as we work to foster safer and healthier solutions to the unprecedented challenges we’re currently facing due to the pandemic, and this bike share partnership is the innovative approach people are looking for to avoid crowded mass transit and opt for a safer, healthier, low-cost, and efficient means of travel,” Fulop said. “We’ve already seen how widely utilized Citi Bike has been in Jersey City, and I’m excited to expand that mobility beyond our city borders, making it much easier for residents and visitors to travel between the two communities for work, shopping, dining, and more.”
Hoboken is thrilled as well, Bhalla said. “This system will provide an integrated transportation option between Hoboken and Jersey City that is safe, affordable and convenient for residents, which is especially critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only will Citi Bike provide for improved connectivity between our two cities but will also allow Hoboken residents to now utilize Citi Bike in New York City with one membership.”
A regional bike share company will help advance safer, alternative transportation options, a central component of both cities’ Vision Zero campaigns to eliminate pedestrian deaths and serious injuries within 10 years or less. Jersey City and Hoboken are two of the most bike-friendly communities in New Jersey, with a combined 75 miles of protected bike lanes, conventional bike lanes, and shared lanes.
The combined Hoboken-Jersey City bike share system will initially include 800 bikes and 82 stations, making it one of the largest bike share programs in the eastern United States. During initial deployment, Lyft will maintain and make necessary upgrades to the existing 51 Citi Bike stations in Jersey City and will add 2 new stations on the south side of the city. In an effort to focus investments in underserved neighborhoods, Lyft will work with Jersey City to locate 75% of the new stations outside of Downtown.
In Hoboken, Lyft will install 30 new stations which will effectively replace the existing Hudson Bike Share stations. Starting in 2021, the system expansion in Jersey City will include an additional 15 new stations and 200 bikes, for a total program buildout of 95 stations and 1,000 bikes. Lyft will work with the City of Hoboken to add more stations in 2021 as well, pending available funding.
“We're happy the City of Hoboken recognizes the value of bike share and is committed to providing this service to residents,” said Chris Adair, President of Bike Hoboken. “We welcome Citi Bike to Hoboken and look forward to a bike share system that integrates seamlessly with our neighbors in Jersey City and Manhattan.”
"Bike JC knows that many people who use bike share daily will be happy to be able to use a bike share system that is cross-compatible with our next door neighbors in Hoboken," said Patrick Conlon, President of Bike JC. “At the same time, we hope to see a larger investment from Lyft to expand not only north into Hoboken, but south and re-establish bike share into the sections of Jersey City.”
Forty percent of the bike share fleet will consist of pedal-assist electric bikes. The pedal-assist e-bikes, which are currently deployed in New York City, do not have a throttle, so riders will be required to pedal just like a conventional bike in order for the electric assist to activate. The pedal-assist bikes will help riders travel further distances between the two cities to access employment opportunities, patronize local businesses, visit friends and family, and more. The pedal-assist bikes will be required to be parked at Citi Bike docking stations.
"A bike share program that links with New York City and Jersey City has been the top request from Hoboken bike enthusiasts. This will make a lot of our residents happy,” said Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, Chair of Hoboken's Transportation and Parking Subcommittee.
The Citi Bike agreement also includes better revenue share for both cities with five percent of annual ridership revenue above $2 million to be evenly distributed. The new Hoboken-Jersey City bike share program contract will be subject to adoption from both City Councils.
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