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SNAP Recipients Now Eligible For Deeply Discounted Citi Bike Memberships

July 17, 2018 - 12:55 pm
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Bike-sharing is coming to a new group of customers at an affordable price.

Starting Tuesday, more than 1 million New Yorkers who rely on the SNAP food assistance program will have access to deeply discounted Citi Bike memberships.

When the bike docks popped up outside Shaquana Boykin's apartment at the Walt Whitman Houses, she wondered why Citi Bike would put such an amenity in a low-income neighborhood.

"I was on food stamps. I was like, 'I cannot afford nothing that's expensive,'" Boykin said.

But then her co-workers in city government told her that as a NYCHA resident she was eligibile for a $5 membership.

"I just applied and it was literally that simple. Went online, put in my NYCHA account number and I had a membership," Boykin said.

Citi Bike has now teamed up with health insurance company Healthfirst to offer the same discounts to all New Yorkers who receive SNAP benefits. They'll be eligible for $5 monthly memberships and unlimited Citi Bike rides.

“Affordable bike share for more New Yorkers helps us build a fairer and more equitable city,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Improving mobility for SNAP recipients in our city will help them make ends meet by giving them greater access to jobs, services and educational opportunities.”

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said people need to put aside preconceived notions of who the Citi Bikes are meant for.

"Too many people of color walk past healthy alternatives because they believe it's a white thing, it is not what we deserve," Adams said. "These blue bikes do not care what your backside is. You can sit on these seats and ride where you want to go."

Adams is encouraging low income New Yorkers to use the bikes to get around.