How will New York's bike-sharing scheme stack up?

New York City is set to boast one of the world's largest bike-sharing schemes, it was finally announced last week, with reports suggesting that it will be larger than similar systems in Washington DC and London.

City officials released the official request for commercial partners November 23, reportedly aiming for a 10,000-strong network of bikes.

The program could be started by spring 2012, said the city's Department of Transportation, with bikes available 24 hours a day from a network of stations at "publicly accessible" prices.

The city's administration hinted that revenue opportunities for commercial partners would be strongest in Manhattan south of 60th Street and the surrounding neighborhoods, although precise locations have not been confirmed.

Like similar systems in Paris and London, users will be able to purchase memberships which entitle them to an unlimited number of 30-minute trips each day at no additional cost, while trips longer than 30 minutes would incur a "small charge."

Although the idea of a New York City bike-share scheme has been in the cards for some time, it's taken the massive bike-lane construction work of the last four years to push it from being a dream to a near-reality on the frenzied streets of the Big Apple.

In a statement, the city said that bike-share systems have grown in popularity, security and sophistication since their first introduction, adding that it expects a system that uses the latest technologies to prevent theft.

It cited the example of Washington DC's Capital Bikeshare program, which offers 1,100 bikes in the US capital and Arlington, Virginia.

Earlier this month, London's Mayor Boris Johnson announced plans to upgrade London's new bike-sharing scheme to some 8,000 bikes by 2012, in time for the Olympic Games.

Paris's Velib scheme, the largest in the world, offers residents and visitors to the French capital the use of 17,000 bikes.

http://www.nyc.gov

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