Yellow taxis, orange ferries and now blue bikes. New York's latest transportation initiative got an official colour on Monday - plus a $41-million sponsorship from Citi.
The program, which envisions 10 000 bicycles and 600 docking stations, will start in July, Mayor Michael Bloomberg confirmed as he announced the sponsorship deal alongside Citi CEO Vikram Pandit and other officials.
"From its yellow taxis to its landmark bridges to the Staten Island Ferry, New York is a city of transportation icons, and these signature blue Citi Bikes will be New Yorkers' newest transportation choice," said Transport Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.
Sadik-Khan said the Citi funds would mean the bikes required no use of tax money.
For users, quick rides will be a good deal.
Just $9.95 will buy 30 minutes of riding time over a 24 hour period. That would be enough for several hops, but for those dreaming of a day-long meander through Brooklyn, or a ride around Central Park, the costs quickly mount to levels more akin to a rental car.
Keep the Citi Bike for two hours and it costs the access fee and an extra $25. For four hours you'll be paying a total of $82.95. A whole 24 hours weighs in at $145 plus the initial fee, or a total of $154.95.
Riders who pay an annual access fee of $95, instead of the 24-hour fee of $9.95, can make use of the charge-free period as often as they like and their grace period is extended from 30 minutes to 45. Thereafter the costs are the same.
Lose the machine and it's a $1000 fine.
According to city officials, 54 percent of trips made by New Yorkers are under two miles. The bikes will be perfect for "short trips that are too far to walk, but short enough that a subway, taxi or livery might be less efficient or more costly," Bloomberg's office said in a statement.