The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer


Citi Bike Needs a Student Plan

College students should not have to spend a fortune to experience the magic of biking in New York City
Citi Bikes are present on every New York City borough except Staten Island, and a student plan would encourage more college aged riders to use them.

There is nothing like biking in New York City. Although riding through busy downtown streets can be stressful, biking at the right location — whether it be a bridge connecting two boroughs, a path along the river or a meandering route through a park — is magical. Biking is expensive, however, and not all students have the means to invest in it. Citi Bike, a privately owned public rental program which provides access to bikes for New Yorkers, could change this by introducing a discounted subscription plan for riders in college.

From steep prices for high-quality bikes to frequent costly tune-ups and repairs, owning and maintaining a bike in New York City can add up. This can make biking inaccessible for people who don’t have the money, time or space to invest in their own bicycle, but biking should be an activity that anyone can enjoy.

Thankfully, New York City is rife with Citi Bikes, which serves every borough except for Staten Island. With recent price increases, however, riding a Citi Bike can present an economic challenge for students. Lyft, the parent company of Citi Bike, needs to introduce a student plan to allow more students to bike to school and throughout the city. 

Citi Bikes are a ubiquitous sight on the streets of Manhattan, sharing bike lanes with delivery drivers on motorized scooters or e-bikes and eco-friendly commuters biking to and from work. There are two docks within a five-minute walk from Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus, one on West 63rd Street and Broadway and one on West 60th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. 

The access that Fordham students have to Citi Bikes is great, but there are limitations with the program, one of the most prohibitive being their price. I believe that all students should have the opportunity to bike freely throughout the city — whether they own a bike or not — and they shouldn’t have to pay an arm and a leg to do so.

At the beginning of 2023, Lyft raised the price of all Citi Bike services. Currently, the cost for a 30-minute ride on a classic Citi Bike is $4.49, which is an increase of 50 cents from the previous rate, which was installed in January of 2022. This costs more than one and a half times the price of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) subway and bus fare ($2.90). 

For students who want to bike around the city, this is not a viable commute option, especially for lengthy rides which would require payment for multiple 30-minute trips. The alternative to that is a day pass, which costs $19 and allows riders to take unlimited half-hour rides for 24 hours. However, people could choose to take six trips with the MTA and still save over $1.50 at that price. 

Citi Bike needs a long term student plan that makes biking to and from school both affordable and worthwhile. A yearly membership to Lyft Pink All Access, Lyft’s membership program, is by far the best deal available for Citi Bikes. Riders can pay $199 annually for unlimited 45-minute rides in addition to Lyft’s ridership perks. 

If you use the bikes daily, the Lyft Pink All Access membership is a bargain. Because of winter and summer breaks, however, many college students will only end up using about two-thirds of that yearly membership; even then, busy school and work schedules will likely hinder their ability to bike consistently. 

Lyft should create a plan which allows students to sign up to Citi Bike at a discounted rate for semesterlong subscriptions and introduce a reward system for riding consistently. This plan would increase Citi Bike usage and boost profits for Lyft by encouraging the more than 1.1 million college students living in New York City to buy subscriptions and ride with them.

The benefits of biking are endless. Physically, consistent cycling has been shown to help with weight loss, improve heart health and lung capacity, boost your immunity and help you get more sleep, among countless other advantages. It has also been shown to have extensive mental health effects, from activating endorphins and reducing stress to providing an opportunity to explore the world by creating community with others. 

Additionally, a study by the University of Bristol links regular exercise with better workload and time management. Encouraging cycling will reduce student burnout, resulting in a healthier workforce as they enter the professional world. 

A discounted student plan from Citi Bike would give Fordham students unlimited opportunities to cycle through Central Park or along the Hudson River Greenway, which is one of my personal favorite bike paths in the city. It would also provide students with an outlet to step away from their busy college lives and explore the city with less urgency, boosting their physical and mental health as they enjoy their time.

Citi Bikes are a wonderful option for students in New York City who don’t own their own bikes to experience the magic of biking. This experience can be made even better with a student plan that incentivizes regular bike riding while accommodating the structure of college schedules, which would result in more bikers and create a healthier student body and a healthier city. 

It is time for Lyft to accommodate the college-aged population in the city to make biking even better.

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About the Contributors
MATTHIAS LAI, Former Opinions Editor
Matthias Lai (he/him), FCLC ’25, is a former head opinions editor at The Observer. He is a former assistant copy editor and head features editor. He is a journalism major who loves exploring and learning about New York City. He spends his free time baking, reading and enjoying the view from his rooftop.
MARIANA LOPEZ, Contributing Writer

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