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citibike flatironThe bikes have arrived at the new Citi Bike rack just west of Madison Square Park as part of the massive new NYC bike sharing program, and riders with memberships can begin using the bikes today. The program lets you grab a bike out of the rack and ride to your destination and then return it to another bike rack station. There will reportedly be 600 stations and 10,000 bikes in the system.

How does it work? You buy a pass for 1 day ($9.95), 7 days ($25), or a year ($95), and with that you can use any bike in the system, and return it to any docking station in the system (See plans at https://citibikenyc.com/pricing). The 1 and 7 day members get 30 minutes to use a bike per trip, and the annual members get 45 minutes per trip at no additional charge. So from what we understand, you can take as many trips as you want, but they each must be under 30 or 45 minutes depending on your membership. Buy your memberships at https://citibikenyc.com/signup.

You can even use an app that shows real-time bike availability at different stations.

Most of the initial response to the idea has been positive, but there have been some issues with the location of some of the stations taking up scarce parking. We also wonder if the city (specifically the taxis and buses) are ready for thousands of amateur bikers and a lack of safe bike lanes. Your thoughts?

Here is a map which shows where the stations are near Madison Square park and the Flatiron, and how many bikes that each hold (see the full map here):

citi bike map 2013

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