Lyft plans to invest $100 million to expand Citi Bike

citi bike

Getting ready to ride at a Citi Bike dock (Photo courtesy of Citi Bike)

Lyft, the new owners of Motivate, the Brooklyn-based company that operates Citi Bike, plans to invest more than $100 million in the bike-sharing service over the next five years.

The investment will enable the program to triple the size of its bike fleet, to 40,000, and expand its geographic reach in the city by 35 square miles, according to city officials.

Most of the new bikes will be pedal-assist bikes, which have an electric motor that gives riders a boost, notably when going up hills. “That’s what’s playing out with rider demands,” Caroline Samponaro, head of bike, scooter and pedestrian policy at Lyft told the Wall Street Journal.

“This expansion means tens of thousands more New Yorkers are going to have a fast and inexpensive way to get around their city,” Mayor de Blasio said in a statement. “We are ready get to work with communities across the city to make this expansion a success.” Lyft’s Samponaro told the Daily News that the expansion will reach into outer-borough neighborhoods, but could not commit to a five-borough expansion.

Earlier this year, Lyft’s rival, Uber, bought another Brooklyn-based bike-sharing company, Jump, which operates fleets of dockless, pedal-assist bikes. Uber criticized Lyft’s planned expansion, saying that Motivate has neglected Staten Island and the Bronx in rolling out its bike docks.

Motivate has an exclusive deal with the city to operate a docked-bike system, but Uber/Jump has experimented with the city in bringing dockless bikes to outer borough. “The city should work with all parties to ensure access to everyone who wants to ride a bike to get around their communities—not one company which has long left outer-borough New Yorkers stranded,” Uber spokeswoman Alix Anfang said in a statement.

Lyft, founded in 2012, now has 1.4 million drivers in all 50 states, has increased its market share to 35%, and doubled its valuation from just over $7 billion last year to $15.1 billion, the company says. The company has rapidly expanded from a ride-hailing service into mobility of all kinds, including e-scooters, bikes, and autonomous vehicles.