I'm in the city today, with my folder, and am very happy to see all the Citibikes running around - I think it is great overall. Unfortunately, I won't be using it because of the 30 minute limit. I guess it's just not for me.
To regular Citibikes users, how well do you think the system is doing on rebalancing?
I'm in NYC this week and, around 9:45 am in the Columbus Circle area, couldn't find any available bikes. Looking at the map now at 11:30 am, it seems like the system is still pretty unbalanced.
It's a continuing struggle. I come in every day at Penn Station, where they run out in a hurry, though for the past week or so I've lucked out. The new bike trailers that they're using seem to help with quick re-ups. Today, there were none -- and they seem to have taken away the station at Eighth and 33rd Street.
I can't see how they can really handle NYC commuter rushes, but I'm glad they're trying. I ain't selling the Brompton yet.
took one for a spin yesterday for the first time. started in midtown, rode down to manhattan bridge, docked, took it back out and headed over to trader joes on court st in brooklyn.
big comfy seat
seem to get less "respect" from other cyclists
but over all, a good time. will do it again
I've read some suggestions that Citibikes could turn to crowd sourcing for help in rebalancing. Various schemes have been floated, but the basic idea is offering inducements for people to ride Citibikes from stations where there are too many to stations where there are too few.
Anyone think this can work? Or would you see people gaming the system - e.g. riding bikes back and forth between stations?
Edit: My impression is that currently the response is to increase the system's rebalancing resources (more drivers/loaders, more vans, more bike trailers), increase the number of bikes (some held at times in central inventory). I imagine that if they throw enough drivers, vans and bikes at the high-demand points, they can mostly handle the problem, but at what cost?
Suppose I have a $100 annual membership and ride a Citibike twice a day, from Penn Station to midtown in the morning and from midtown to Penn Station in the afternoon, 5 days a week and 50 months a year. That is 500 trips, Citibikes gets $0.20 revenue per each trip. If the bike has to rebalanced every time, that seems pretty uneconomic for Citibikes. It has to cost $0.50 to $1.00, at least, to rebalance each bike - figure a two-man team moves 40 bikes per hour?
Or, figure it a different way. How many rebalancers does Citibikes employ? Reports say they are adding 35 more, not sure how many they had before. Suppose 60 rebalancers x 8 hours x 260 days (assume much less rebalancing needed on weekends). Plug in an hourly cost per person (include taxes, benefits, truck cost, etc). Okay, this is just a totally crude guess, but anyway the potential annual cost looks alarming.
I expect the Citi bike riders to be more law-following ;) so when I saw a salmon on Citi bike yesterday on the 5th avenue in midtown I was like, you are ruining the reputation of Citibikers!
But yet I ride them myself, and when I do I just accept that they'll ride slow.
I've seen a few very flabby people on Citibikes. I'm predicting that many of them will be losing weight soon. I suspect this put them over the edge in considering commuting by bike. "Aw what the heck, why don't I just try it." I am very happy to see this.
All kinds of people are on Citibikes. This is how things should be!
I think (some of) the Citibikes are wobbly and slow because of (some of) the riders on them. I've found the bikes plenty fast enough for the congestion they are ridden in, and they are as stable as you'd expect from 40 lb of bike on big tires. I really enjoy riding them. Just was a bit chagrined at the empty stations.
As far as wobbly - I guess if you are going slow. I find that I can get them going pretty good - especially coming down off the Brooklyn Bridge :)
Hope they get the rebalancing issue improved, especially the full docks. It is a great system and I imagine the initial success was bigger than expected.
I was reading that bikeshare systems lose money on the regular daily users, and make money on the casual and tourist/occasional users. Makes sense under the current pricing scheme which is unlimited uses for $99/year.
Can never get a bike during rush hour after paying annual fee. Unless there are major changes I will not renew
Some of these Citi Bikers shouldn't be riding let alone be riding in nyc. It'll be a matter of time before they meet a crazy cabbie driver!
Well this morning much to my surprise and frustration I was unable to unlock a bike. Called up and had a bad connection but heard something about "your account has been suspended". Eff it - hopped on the subway so I wouldn't be late to work. Call up Citibike and they are like "yep - we sent you an email a few days ago telling you, your account would be suspended since the credit card you used to pay for the membership is expired." I'm like - gee do you think you could maybe given a little more notice especially considering that I'm paid in full for the year, the email you claim to have sent is no where to be seen (check your spam box), the card you are referring to expired in July!, and last but not least no where on the citibike account page do you show any messages about this action that you are taking.
"sorry but we did send an email... Yeah thanks for effing up what was turning out to be a great alternative to the subway for me"
Seriously - they have no conception of customer service but then again neither does MTA. I guess I shouldn't be surprised.
Now I have to update my credit card info and call back again to ask them to re-enable my account. I'm going to ask to have my membership extended by the number of days they suspended my account just to see if they have any common sense at all.
I took my office girlfriend on a ride today when I had my own bike and used my Citibike key for another for her, and she loved it! (not my real girlfriend, we're both married.) I think it got her hooked. We went down the East Side Bikeway to just past the reconstructed part at Basketball City, turned around and went back to midtown. We got caught in the rain at 42nd St but decided to just finish up as we have showers at work.
Can I lend my Citi Bike key to someone else?
No, your Citi Bike key is not transferable. Inappropriate use or sharing of keys will result in membership termination and any overtime fees and/or potential damages charges will be settled against your credit card.
You said that you took out the bike yourself and let her ride it; but I think that that's essentially the same thing as lending her your key. So, I believe that your membership could be suspended for that.
Saw a Citibiker today on the Hudson Greenway. He had a folding baby stroller in the front basket in cross position--in other words, the max width of his occupied space was the length of the stroller. Good that it's not so crowded on the Greenway today.