Essential workers have until May 31 to enroll.

By Cailey Rizzo
April 30, 2020
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Makenzie Lannon, BSN, RN, OCN rides a citibike bicycle in Times Square during the coronavirus pandemic on April 20, 2020 in New York City.
Noam Galai/Getty

As New York's Citi Bike has been working with ride-sharing app Lyft to provide free memberships for medical workers, the initiative just got a huge boost to help the program expand.

Thanks to a $1 million donation from Mastercard and Citi, Citi Bike's “Critical Workers Program” — which provided free 30-day memberships — has been extended to one year and will also include New Yorkers who work at food banks and other food support non-profits, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday.

“The most effective interventions in the fight against COVID-19 are ones that help essential workers get us through this crisis, while laying the foundation for a fairer and better city in the future,” said de Blasio. “I’m grateful to Lyft, Citi, and Mastercard for standing with first responders – and for helping our city provide expanded access to bikeshare in underserved areas.”

The funds will also help Citi Bike expand the number of stations in the Bronx and Upper Manhattan next week, including new stations for essential workers outside Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx and Harlem Hospital in Manhattan.

The annual membership includes unlimited 45-minute Citi Bike rides around the city. It typically costs $169 per person, according to the Citi Bike website.

Lyft, which operates Citi Bike, is also offering thousands of free rides to New Yorkers who need them most during the COVID-19 pandemic through a program called LyftUp. In New York, Lyft has partnered with local organizations including NY Cares, Asian American Federation and Queens Community House to provide free transportation to low-income families, healthcare workers and senior citizens.

“With New Yorkers stepping up in an extraordinary way to serve their communities in the fight against COVID-19, Lyft is grateful to our partners Citi and Mastercard for their generous support of the Citi Bike Critical Workforce Program,” Caroline Samponaro, Head of Micromobility and Transit Policy at Lyft said in a press release. “This program is a central component of LyftUp, our comprehensive effort to expand transportation access to all and provide free rides to those who need them most right now."

Citi Bike is also increasing how frequently its shared bikes are being cleaned and disinfected. They have set up “valets” at stations near New York’s hospitals who will clean and disinfect bikes once they are docked.

The enrollment deadline is May 31. Employers of essential workers should email HeroBikes@Lyft.com for more information, which they can distribute to staff.