NY Times Writer Describes Citi Bike Share Trials And Tribulations

New York Times writer Gina Bellafante writes about her experience with Citi Bike Share and it wasn’t totally awesome.

NYT: In light of these declaimed absurdities, I became determined to embrace bike sharing after having had reservations, not about the concept itself, but about its execution. Last week I set out for an inaugural ride with the goal of getting from Brooklyn Heights, where there are 10 Citi Bike kiosks (so many that it seems clear that Citibank pushed to have the heaviest presence in the most affluent neighborhoods to maximize promotion) to Pike and Monroe Streets in Lower Manhattan. There, in front of the Rutgers Houses, the Transportation Department was fitting people for free bike helmets, something it will continue to do in front of Housing Authority properties all summer. The idea was to get some sense of how low-income New Yorkers were responding to the bike-sharing program and how well it might serve them.

When I went to retrieve a bike at Clark Street, there was a problem with dislodgment; none of the various codes I entered managed to release a bike. It took eight calls to the help line to get to the automated voice system and ultimately to a human being. At this point I was running late and decided to take a cab to Manhattan and return home using a bike from the Pike and Monroe kiosk. As it happened, I had to ride back to Brooklyn from another station because that kiosk was shielded with blue tape, and none of the bikes was usable.

In April, Brooklyn Spoke looked at Bellafante’s earlier critiques of the program.

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  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    Regardless of Gina Bellafante’s experience the program is getting more popular by the day:

    Published June 09, 2013

    Quick Stats

    Sunny and summery. We had a record-number breaking number of trips.

    5 pm Round-Up

    Trips 5 pm – 5 pm current day: 22,399
    Trips since launch: 162,248

    Avg Duration (current day): 25 min
    Miles traveled since launch: 476,285 miles

    Most popular starting stations
    West Thames Street: 355
    Broadway & W 57 St: 318
    Central Park South & 6 Av: 295

    Most popular ending stations
    West Thames Street: 365
    Broadway & W 57 St: 349
    Central Park South & 6 Av: 303

    Annual Members: 35,879 total Annual Members
    24-hour passes purchased (5 pm – 5 pm): 4524
    7-day passes purchased (5 pm – 5 pm): 242

  • Pineappler

    I used CitiBike for the first time on Saturday and loved it, biking in Brooklyn Heights, Dumbo and the bike friendly sections of Brooklyn Bridge Park. I bought a 24-hour pass to try it out and plan on purchasing an annual membership in the near future.

  • PB

    I also used it for the first time Sunday. I won’t lie — there were a few technical problems that were frustrating. But as a piece in today’s Daily News said — the Subways are over 100 years old and have technical problems every day. Why should I expect the bike share to be perfect in the first few weeks?

  • MonroeOrange

    what no one is going to say that the NY Times is a rag mag with no credibility…like you all said when the NY Post wrote an article lamenting many of the same points…

  • petercow

    The problems Citibike are having, are problems any business would love to have.. exploding customer demand.

    I think they probably have had an extra week of shake-down, before going “live” with general customers, but it is what it is.

    The bugs will be worked out. Meanwhile, they’re adding over 900 annual memberships a day.

    Good stuff.