Got an Email update from Citibike. I had to buy the print version of the NY Times, on account the copyright law . But this is a public notice, so I guess it's alright :
Bike Share Balance
Successful bike share systems around the world face a ubiquitous challenge-- finding a good balance between available bikes and available docking points and maintaining this balance throughout the day. In New York City, as New York Times writes about this week
, these challenges are compounded by the fact that New Yorkers have non-traditional work schedules and multiple transit and commercial hubs.
Now, less than three months post-launch, we are still learning about travel patterns of Citi Bike riders but a few trends are immediately clear. Stations near transit hubs empty out quickly in the morning and fill up quickly in the evenings. Stations empty out early in the East Village but demand remains high till late in the morning; then at night the stations are jammed full. Stations on the far west side seem to be in high demand all day long.
We have teams of “rebalancers” on-duty 24-hours a day to try to keep the system in balance, and they’ve recently adopted some new strategies to adapt to these patterns.
We’ve started stockpiling bikes during late night hours in a space near Penn Station which allows our rebalancers to re-stock the stations nearby multiple times during the morning rush and free up space during the evening rush.
We have a new space on the Lower East Side that allows us to stage bikes overnight and keep the East Village better stocked during that long morning commuting peak.
And we have a new space at Pier 40 that serves as a staging ground for bikes going to stations on the far west side. We’ve found it’s far easier to run rebalancing routes north-south than to contend with crosstown traffic.
We’re also experimenting with adding four bike trailers to our rebalancing fleet. Each trailer will be able to haul three bikes at a time. We will monitor and evaluate whether this makes it easier to move the bikes through traffic.
On some of our busiest days we’re seeing over 40,000 trips, which means that each Citi Bike bikes is used on average over 7 times per day. That’s more than any other system in the world. Keeping a system this large and busy in balance is a constant challenge and one we’ll be continually working to meet.
See photos of our rebalancing efforts here and here.