The popular CitiBike bike share program appears set for a five-year contract extension in Miami Beach. At Friday’s Miami Beach Finance Committee meeting, members signaled support for continuing the partnership between the city and CitiBike operator Deco Bike.
A key aspect of the potential contract extension is additional public benefits for Miami Beach residents. Commissioners proposed that Deco Bike offer residents a limited number of “no-charge” rides each month.
By giving residents more opportunities to try the bike share system at no cost, city leaders hope it will get more people hooked on using CitiBikes for short trips around town. The goal is to encourage multimodal transportation options on Miami Beach and get more residents choosing bicycles and other non-car methods for travel.
Commissioner Alex Fernandez, a strong supporter of CitiBike, said getting more local residents using the system could help reduce traffic and parking demand.
DecoBike presented data showing the current system surpasses industry benchmarks, with over 16 million trips taken since its launch and each bike used 5 times per day on average. Ridership has remained steady over the past 5 years, hovering around 1.7 million rides per year.
The Citibank sponsorship was discussed at the meeting. While it provides financial stability to the program, even without the sponsorship, it is still a profitable operation. In addition to the proposed public benefits, the operators outlined how they continue to invest in the system, including spending $2 million towards new bicycles, both traditional and electric-assist, as well as new stations to expand the system.
The contract extension is expected to be approved at an October 18 commission meeting. This will allow DecoBike to continue serving Miami Beach while potentially bringing bicycling into the daily routine for more residents.