In 2016, something remarkable happened. The New York City Subway experienced a slight decline in ridership. The nation’s busiest subway (by far) went from 1.762 billion rides in 2015 to 1.756 billion rides in 2016, about a .3 percent dip. The drop has the New York Times and Transit chairman Fernando Ferrer opining about the rise of car sharing services like UBER. Out of context, a slight decline of .03% shouldn’t be cause for concern, that’s about six million rides; one day’s worth of trips. With context, however, New York’s transit system is on the brink of either glory of disaster.
When I announced that I was leaving my position at the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership to build a scaleable, secure bike parking solution, I got more than a few blank stares. “The market for cycling isn’t big enough,” was the refrain I heard again and again. One successful CEO told me that New York had a “long way to go” before it was like Amsterdam. Even some bike advocates expressed a degree of skepticism; cycling, for the most part, is still seen as a mostly recreational activity.
Conventional wisdom subscribers are missing a key opportunity. Here are five reasons why: