How Citi Bike transformed perceptions of Citibank

Stephen Whiteside

Bike-sharing schemes have successfully been introduced in various cities across the globe, from London and Paris to Boston and Mexico City. But plans to roll out a similar initiative in New York, as announced by Michael Bloomberg – the city's mayor – in May 2012, were always likely to face particularly fierce scrutiny.

As was the case in London with Barclays bank, the New York authorities wanted a corporate partner to help develop and implement this idea. Step forward Citibank, a financial services provider that is headquartered in New York, which agreed to put its money and marketing muscle behind this privately-operated, publically-beneficial venture.

"They needed a sponsor to actually make it happen. We invested about $41 million over six years. No tax-payer dollars are being used to fund this programme, and it really was the only way for the programme to come to New York City," said Elyssa Gray, head of creative and media at Citibank.