On Sunday, 24-hour and 7-day passes became available at Citi Bike kiosks... opening up the program to everyone (with a credit or debit card) who didn't buy annual memberships.
Sure, there have been plenty of glitches (as the New York Post is so quick to report).
Carlo Giurdanella sent this photo yesterday from East 11th Street at First Avenue ... pointing out that these two women, in town visiting from Holland, couldn't get the docking station to release a bike. The reader sent them to East 13th Street and Avenue A.
But. Hysteria aside. A reader sent this in an email:
I would love to see a follow-up story on Citi Bikes that looks at how they are being used in the neighborhood. I've noticed that many of the racks along Avenue B and C are completely empty in the mornings and full in the evenings, so it seems like there is a pretty sizable contingent of people using them to commute.
A quick aside: This person was vetted and found not to be a Citi Bike shill!
Bobby Williams took that above photo in the middle of the afternoon yesterday on East Ninth Street and Avenue C. (This docking station was out of commission all last weekend, as several readers noted.) There is one bike left.
People are using the bikes, yes? No?
Meanwhile, laat weekend, Wall Street Journal editorial board member Dorothy Rabinowitz ripped Citi Bikes, Bloomberg, et al.
Yesterday, Journal sports columnist Jason Gay provided his own take in a column after actually riding a Citi Bike:
The whole experience was rather simple. I believe this is the point of the bike. Somehow this act has become 'controversial' in New York. Sharing bicycles. …Some of the arguments against bike share are just confusing. I don’t know how to handle the argument that we don’t need bike share because everyone who wants to bike already owns a bike. That’s like saying that we don’t need restaurants because everybody has a kitchen.
I don’t know what to do with the argument that bike share stations take up valuable space on a public street. You know what is also taking up valuable space on a public street? Your car. My car.
I don't know if it's actually controversial or it's just fun to make it sound controversial because that is what New York does. ... If anything, the 'outcry' about bikes sounds more like a last gasp, the same kind of gasp that always happens when a city is confronted with change.
Updated 9 a.m.:
Just saw these stats over at Fast Company...
The new Citi Bike program in New York seems to have proven hugely popular: In just 10 days, they have been ridden more than 100,000 times.
And you can find a heat map thing here that explains "the average change in travel time across the city when a commuter has access to a Citibike."