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Citi Bike offering month of free rides to NYCHA residents and SNAP recipients


Citi Bikes stationed next to the Bowling Green Subway Station in Manhattan on Tuesday, April 19, 2016. (Rose Abuin/New York Daily News)

NYCHA residents and SNAP recipients can score a month of free Citi Bike rides — if they pay a visit to their local library.

The bicycle sharing network on Monday distributed roughly 1,000 gift certificates to New York, Brooklyn and Queens public library branches, which give low-income residents a gratis 30-day membership to the service.

New Yorkers who live in NYCHA complexes or receive SNAP benefits already have access to discounted Citi Bike memberships. They can sign up online for a $5 per month membership, which can be canceled any time and is a steep discount from the company’s standard $169 annual fee.

Citi Bike officials said more than 3,500 people are currently using the discounted bike-share program, and the goal of the free month-long membership is to expand the service.

Caroline Samponaro, who oversees the Citi Bike program, said the initiative is part of a larger effort to make the network “accessible and equitable for everyone.”

A recent study showed that the Citi Bike network has neglected New Yorkers living below the poverty line and communities of color since it launched in 2013. The company in June announced plans to expand its service to the Bronx and into low-income neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens, where residents have for years been pushing for access to the program.

That expansion, which will double the size of Citi Bike’s network, won’t be complete until the end of 2023.

A Citi Bike spokesman said the gift certificates will be available at local libraries “while supplies last,” but added that the company is working to send out even more of the coupons this week.