Adding to the city’s Citi Bike service, an all-new entrant of electric bikes will soon set foot in the Big Apple. Transportation start-up JOCO will, from the coming week, make hundreds of e-bikes available for rent at 30 privately-owned locations across the borough.
Priced at $1 for a ride plus $.25-cents a minute, JOCO’s e-bikes will cost less per ride, compared to a single trip on a Citi Bike. Furthermore, for $49 a month, riders can unlock unlimited 45-minute trips. As it stands, JOCO will also let riders reserve bikes in advance, and the docking stations will feature bike chargers for automatic recharging, which gives the start-up an upper hand compared to Citi Bike, which requires workers to replace and recharge batteries each night.
The company is the latest “micro-mobility” firm to attempt a New York City launch in defiance of city DOT’s contract with Citi Bike, which gives the company exclusive right to operate within its service area. DOT spokesman Brian Zumhagen said in a statement: “DOT is reaching out to JOCO to underscore that all bike-sharing systems within New York City require prior written authorization of the Department.”
The company hopes to expand to 800 e-bikes and 100 docking locations by the fall, according to its founders, whereas Citi Bike currently has 4,500 bicycles around the city. Speaking about the introduction of the bikes in New York City, JOCO’s founders, who are incidentally both named Jonathan Cohen, said, “We don’t necessarily see ourselves as a competitor. The pie is increasing massively. There’s room for more than one player. We think New York is reopening in a huge way. They’re going to go to more restaurants, they’re going to go shopping, and they’re going to want to take an e-bike to get there.”
The company’s bikes will initially be stationed at parking garages around the city, including at Icon Parking garages, the city’s largest parking operators, but the company says it hopes to expand to residential and commercial buildings in the near future. The company essentially pays landlords to provide this amenity, while absolving them from having to operate or maintain the e-bikes.