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Citi Bike NYC...The Good, The Bad,The Should, The Could

The big news in the Big Apple this week is the launch of the Citi Bike share program. If you are in NYC, you may have seen the racks being installed in the past few weeks and the bikes being delivered this past weekend with the intention of a memorial day launch. Bike sharing is a big effort towards sustainability in transportation in major cities around the world. New York is not the first to implement bike sharing. 


The Good

  • get's New Yorker's moving...physically
  • gridlock? grab a bike!
  • no room for a bike in your NY size apartment, just use Citi Bike
  • looking for something to do on a nice spring/summer day? Bike it! 
  • Grab a bike here, return it to the nearest Bike Share stand wherever you end up. 
  • Membership has it's privileges

The Bad

  • membership and passes can get pricey - especially with a $101 security hold on your credit card with each ride
  • disruptive installment of Bike Share stations in inappropriate front of residential and commercial buildings, blocking access to buidlings, near "local" bike shops, in already crowded parking spaces, in "sidewalks" meant for pedestrians...
  • no helmets...although if you become an annual member you can get $10 off a helemt. Woohoo! I foresee a big helmet requirement petition coming soon
  • you have to check your bike in at a station every 30 or 45 minutes, depending on your plan, or pay a fine
  • there are lots of $10 fees for when things go wrong
  • there's no bike lock if you want to stop in a store and there's no station around
  • all bikes are exactly the same - designed by Public Bike System Company (PBSC, also known as Bixi) 
  • if the bike is lost, stolen, or damaged you will be charged
  • oh, and there's tax on top of everything
  • Hipsters already have their own bike
  • p.s. One bike was already stolen while the delivery guys were loading them into the stations

 The Should Have

  • involved the residents and community in planning station locations
  • crowdsourced bike  designs from New Yorkers
  • made the bikes in New York by local bike shops, or at least even in the USA like Bike Nation USA
  • promotional deals for launch month
  • created a bike event for charity launching the Bike Share system - a ride with resident celebrity New Yorkers

The Could Still

  • service of the bikes should be outsourced to local bike shops
  • local bike shops should be able to sell discounted memberships to their customers
  • crowdsource local artists and designers to decorate and design bikes 
  • talk to the actual people in the communities and LISTEN
  • create a bike event for charity launching the Bike Share system - a ride with resident celebrity New Yorkers

What do you think? Will you be taking the Citi Bike out for a spin this summer?



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Reader Comments (1)

Actually, I don't believe you are charged for damage (within reason). Perhaps if you were to wreck a ton of bikes they'd catch on, though.

I believe the DOT did very much involve the communities in choosing locations. All of the bad attributes of locations you describe are arguably not bad at all. The whole point is to have the locations be useful, not hidden away out of view and a long walk away.

The bike designs are great and proven (they are nearly identical to the Barclay/Boris bikes in London, which have been in use for years and work well). Having the bikes all be identical makes sense and is advantageous to the rider as well.

"Hipsters already have their own bikes" is hardly a con. I am an avid cyclist and have a couple of bikes, but for utility I will also use the Citibikes regularly.

I'm sure there will be some refinements to the pricing (the per-day pricing is more than 5x higher than that of London, for example, which is a bit much!) and locations, but it's looking pretty awesome so far.

May 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJ

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