Metro-North Teaming Up with NYC-Based Startup Oonee to Provide Secure Bike Storage
MTA Metro-North Railroad today announced a pilot program for bicyclists is coming to Grand Central Terminal. In collaboration with Brooklyn-based startup Oonee, Metro-North will have a six-space secure biking storage unit installed at Grand Central’s former “taxiway” space at 43rd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue. The space has not been used by taxis since 2001 and provides direct access to the terminal’s west balcony and main concourse.
The pilot program will run for one year with an expected launch for November. The pilot is expected to include the debut of a six-space secure bike parking pod known as Oonee’s Mini. Use of the pod will require a reservation through membership with Oonee, which will allow users to unlock a private space inside the pod using a keycard or smartphone. Reservations will be offered on a first come, first serve basis. Oonee memberships are free to the public and anyone can register on Oonee’s website.
“Metro-North understands the importance of sustainable transportation and sees cycling as a natural partner to mass transit in that respect,” said Catherine Rinaldi, President of Metro-North Railroad. “We are excited to work with a local partner for this pilot, which has game-changing potential to expand to more Metro-North stations as well as subway and LIRR stations throughout the New York City region.”
“Secure bike parking facilities have the potential to dramatically increase the range of New York’s subway and rail stations by making it easier for customers to bike to and from transit,” said Shabazz Stuart, Oonee Founder. “As a local company founded by transit advocates and policy leaders, we are thrilled to partner with the MTA on this historic pilot that will bring high quality bike parking to one of the region’s most important transit hubs. We can’t wait to get started.”
“Access to secure bike parking is a key way to encourage more biking in New York City, and we are very pleased to see the MTA working with Oonee to launch a secure biking pilot,” said Danny Harris, Transportation Alternatives Executive Director. “As our report from earlier this year found, bike parking in New York City has not kept up with the bike boom, and secure facilities like Oonee will help us catch up to peer cities around the world that have prioritized this infrastructure. We expect that this pilot will be hugely popular and hope it expands to many more transit hubs and neighborhoods across the five boroughs.”
The storage pod installation and maintenance will be handled by Oonee. Through their customer support, Oonee Care, Oonee will handle the upkeep of the storage pod and respond to any customer service needs. The pod will have a free air pump with both Presta and Schrader valves, hydraulic sliding doors for easy access to pod, automated closing doors, and insurance coverage for both bike and scooter owners.
The launch of the Oonee pilot follows Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road’s announcement that bike permits are no longer required onboard trains as of Sept. 7.
For current information on taking your bike on MTA subways, buses and commuter rail, visit new.mta.info/guide/bikes.
Oonee is a Black and Brown owned startup based in Brooklyn, that began when founder Shabazz Stuart realized that secure parking for bicycles was critical for convenient and reliable mobility in cities. Despite this obvious need, and the growing number of cyclists on the street, there was no solution available for smart, attractive, secure bike parking structures.
After more than a year of meeting with urban planners, cyclists, transportation advocates, public space managers, and real estate developers, it became clear that any impactful solution would require a completely new, fresh approach. Stuart and co-founder J. Manuel Mansylla realized the need for a kind of nimble streetscape infrastructure that could provide parking options for bikes and scooters, but also would be capable of enhancing the surrounding public space environment.
Each customizable Oonee pod features bike parking on the inside and public space amenities on the exterior. For sponsors and institutions, the easy-to-install pods offer an unlimited array of branding opportunities. For cyclists, Oonee offers affordable, secure bike parking, and finally, a solution that works.