Friday, June 7, 2013

[Updated] Full week one observations: No, really — how is the Citi Bike bike share doing?



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.

And!

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."



32 comments:

GH13 said...

No furious comments claiming EVGrieve is now a Citi shill? What has this comment section come to? Or is it the fact that this program is proving to be hugely successful and beneficial to the city and its residents that's keeping the trolls away? Hmmm.

Anonymous said...

i walk by 58th street and 3rd ave everyday and that bike station is always full. Hardly anyone uses it!

Cleo Lemon said...

I don't have a bike share account, but I support the program and I was linked to this site yesterday:
http://bikes.oobrien.com/newyork/

It provides interesting data on which stations are being used at what times.

"Click on a station, and a little history graph pops up in the lower left corner. If the station is flatlined in daytime hours and/or has a vertical jump wall, then there's a pretty good chance the station is/was down or not reporting accurate data to central command. You can also look for broken docks by looking for a ceiling below the reported dock total."

rob said...

From the map it looks like it will reduce congestion on buses and cabs, primarily. If the impact is significant, will the city reduce bus service? That would be bad for non-bikers including some seniors. I wonder how it'll impact the cab business and cab drivers -- higher fares or just lower income? And will neighborhoods not serviced by Citi's program spend the next decade lobbying to get it extended to them, if it's viewed as affordable?

Anonymous said...

In just 10 days, they have been ridden more than 100,000 times -- There are lies, damned lies and statistics.

17,000 to 25,000 annual membership = successful for the .2% - .3% (not even 1%)

Tourists from Holland.

The heat map, tourist spots. Where are the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island or other parts of Brooklyn. Oh right, there are no Citibikes there. Or uptown. Used by residents my ass.

The EV is the new SoFaBo, NoFaBo, ZuckerVille, LoJackita, BroHo, Stuyversy and CitiBike City, so of course the Citibikes are used frequently by these newly rich, arrogant, narcissistic tech kidults.

Citi Bike is a socialist plot carried out by the "all-powerful bike lobby." http://gawker.com/citi-bike-is-a-nazi-muslim-plan-to-firebomb-new-york-ci-511489930

Time will tell.

You sure you're handle isn't G8, GH13? Hmmmmm. Keep shillin' or trollin' for Citi.

Anonymous said...

How about the statistics that 50% of the bikes don't work.

And Fast Company, a magazine for the young tech riches by the young tech riches. Would like to see the statistics on residents versus tourists using the bikes, age demographics, income, etc.

Nothing about bike-sharing; it's a good concept. It's the Citi Bike sharing and the way it is being implemented.

Anonymous said...

I've been using CitiBike to get from the EV to 57th and 5th as a way to commute. I still take the M1-4 buses or the 4,5,6 when it's pouring outside like today but generally, my commute via CitiBike takes about 20 minutes, subway 30 min (as long as the 4,5,6 isn't fucked up), and bus takes about 35 minutes.

Usually I buy an unlimited subway pass but I figured, try June without one and see how it goes. This week, I rode the subway/bus only twice, once on Monday and once today because of rain.

Another time it was great was I had to run errands in Gramercy and the LES. I used Citibike around 6:30 PM to get to Ridge and Rivington and up to 19th and 1st and then the 13th and A racks. In all, I ran my errands in exactly one hour.

For me, this is great. If I can just take the subway/bus only 2 or 3 times a week, I figure $2.25x3 is $6.75, in one month that would be more or less $27, giving me a savings of $85 for not having to get an unlimited pass.

I don't want to sound like a shill for CitiBike but I do have to say that it's cut down my transpo costs, commute time, and I'm getting a little exercise.

nygrump said...

Why do they keep calling it a "bikeshare"? Its just a corporate-govt partnered bike rental program. Avis isn't called a 'car share'. I believe the bike rental market was already covered in NYC. This provides for an out of towner company to come in and destroy the bike rental market already established. It might be interesting to look at who these carpetbaggers really are.

dwg said...

Just wondering how affordable the program is for low income folk- or accessible? Would like to see a study six months from now about the use per income level. Fear this just accelerates the trend toward a city built for higher incomes and tourists. Would be nice if low income could get reduced price- $5 for a day.

In any case riding along East River and Hudson River bike paths Wednesday at 5 I'd say 50% of bikes were citishare.

Anonymous said...

Citi Bike sharing program is no different than the NSA PRISM, and it's all about greenwashing.

Would like to see you Citi losers and shillers ride that bike today and tomorrow. Hang on to your fedoras.

DOWN with CITI said...

Because of this program and the disgusting way it was enacted and blessed by Bloomberg and the DOT (who wanted to cut defiant groups like Critical Mass at the knees), I researched where local brick and mortar NYC bike shops are so that I can BUY from THEM should I ever want to ride a bike in this town.

Screw Citi!!!!

ericfg said...

NYgrump: it's called bike share because it is analogous to something like zipcar which is called car share. Bike rental and car rental are different from bike share and car share. First in terms of the length of time you use the bike/car compared to a rental, and also in terms of how pickup/drop off works.

dwg: residents of NYCHA housing get a yearly discount, $60 instead of $95 (same goes for people with accounts at the Lower East Side People's Federal Credit Union).

I've not made up my mind about citibike yet, but judging from the rack in front of my building, it's getting a lot of use during commute times. The rack goes from full to empty in the morning and back to full in the evening. I really have a hard time understanding much of the criticism. It seems that everyone has attached their least favorite thing about NYC to the bikes (yuppies, tourists, dangerous streets, the mayor, etc.) and is building nasty strawmen out of it.

(cue nygrump calling me a citishill in 3, 2, 1...)

Anonymous said...

i have to say, a few days ago i was reading in washington square park and i realized -- "i have yet to see a single citibike rider"... sure, i'd seen the empty docks pre-launch, and i'd noticed the always-full dock near my flatiron office on a daily basis. but i had yet to actually see anyone RIDING one of these.

i looked over to macdougal street and sure enough within five seconds i saw someone cruise by on one of the unmistakable blue bikes.

so i realize now, i notice citibike about as much as i notice any other cyclists. that is to say, barely. much ado about nothing.

Anonymous said...

the Citibike riders are much more noticeable. For instance, I was walking on Bowery and crossing Grand St.(have the lights) and this Citibike rider just cruised on by looking at the buildings and not paying attention to the street and pedestrians and almost hit me (brushed me with this blue monstrosity) and when I told him to pay attention to the road he just kept looking at the buildings and cruising on by and not even paying attention to the vehicle traffic that had to stop or weave around him so as not to hit him. They have a sense of power of authority once on these Citibikes. Much ado about CitiBike shilling.

Anonymous said...

"The rack goes from full to empty in the morning and back to full in the evening." ericfg, that's because The EV is now the SoFaBo, NoFaBo, ZuckerVille, LoJackita, BroHo, Stuyversy and CitiBike City.

"I really have a hard time understanding much of the criticism."
The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist

Anonymous said...

right, everyone who disagrees with you is a shill. you just have the world figured out, don't you?

Giovanni said...

A letter from the future, June 7th, 2020:

Dear EV Grieve,

While cruising on my shiny new electric CitiBike from Stuyversy on down to LoJackita to search for my car which has been missing for 7 years since they towed it to install more bike racks, I stopped off in BroHo for a little WooHoo action and to say hi to my friends in ZuckerVille before I return to my village in Ohi-Ho. There I plan to regale my Midwestern brethren with tales of the new great new program being rolled by our 5 term mayor Bloomberg. It's called called the CitiCopter.

Forget the crowded buses and subways and CitiBike lanes, now I can fly my own private Citibank sponsored helicopter to work and back home every day, and my only problem now is trying to take off and land without killing everyone in a 2 block radius. Add that to the CitiBlimp sharing program, the CitiSkateboard sharing program, and the CitiJetpack program, and my feet almost never need to hit the pavement.

We can all give a big thank you to CitiBank for finding a way to both get me to work faste rin my own personal CitCopter, and when i crash land onto the pavement for finding a whole new way to help weed out the last dying remnants of NYC's pre-sharing program population: pedestrians.

Your friend from WooHooville,

Giovanni

Anonymous said...

no, 1:43 PM, Citi has figured it out for you, since you can't figure it out for yourself, Citi sheeple.

Goggla said...

@Giovanni - where do I sign up for your newsletter?

Anonymous said...

encfg stated:

"It seems that everyone has attached their least favorite thing about NYC to the bikes (yuppies, tourists, dangerous streets, the mayor, etc.) and is building nasty strawmen out of it."

Well said - though you forgot the most reviled - Citibank. How dare they advertise - oh the injustice!

nygrump said...

ericfg - I don't think I've called anyone a shill for citibike - although this topic has been around long enough I can't remember everything I've posted. I would love to see a sustainable transportation system in place. I have this feeling the city owners are putting into place mass transit systems outside the MTA - so we get the Select buses where you can't actually use your MTA pass you have to get a ticket (I know I know, the Select buses themselves are MTA).
I would say calling zipcar a ride share is equally a marketing misnomer, but then zipcar didn't get to take up acres of public space in the most coveted neighborhoods without paying rent (right?). When a taxi picks someone up, that is not a "rideshare". All I know is I rode a bike for years and dreamed of a motorized vehicle. Now I have the subway.

shmnyc said...

nygrump,

Clearly, the success of this program demonstrates that the bike rental market was not covered.

Re being called a shill: I've discovered that all this really means is that you have evidence to support your claim.

ericfg said...

Grump: sorry for the false accusation, maybe it was Giovanni or someone else who was calling anyone willing to be less than critical on other threads a shill

I find the claim that taking space away from private vehicles in a city where many residents do not own cars (especially in Manhattan where the vast majority does not own a car) and giving that space to a project aimed at supplementing mass transit for residents is somehow a privatization of public space to be hollow and lacking in a certain level of intellectual rigor. In my opinion that space was already privatized and for the minority of car owners to use at the expense of all of us. (I would like to see an equal number of spaces turned into bike racks for normal bikes)

I also think that daily bike rentals, where you have to go to a store and put down a large deposit and can only return it when they are open for business and this program are so far apart that I can't imagine one impacting the other very much.

But, I also have a rather irrational hate for cars in the City so anything that makes it more difficult for car owners and reduces the need for trips in a taxi is going to get a certain amount of leeway from me. now, I also have a large bucket of hate for CitiBank, so you can see where this leaves me with no clear side to take.

Anonymous said...

how about them servicing the citibikes in the middle of the night on a regular basis with thier citivans, running loud air compressors, steam cleaners and air tools...try working on your car/building/business like that and see how fast they ticket you.

DrGecko said...

It's been awful, the worst experience ever for me. The hyperbole is so thick you can't cut it with a mixed metaphor. The air is choked with verbal brickbats. And it's not even EV air. It's the nitrogen in the tires. It's DESIGNER air.

Here's my awful experience. Yesterday I Citibiked crosstown to a food store where I'd never been because it's a bit inconvenient to get to. I bought some food. I came home and ate it. Today, I've been violently ill.

I should contact the NYPost about this.

Anonymous said...

"The heat map, tourist spots. Where are the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island or other parts of Brooklyn. Oh right, there are no Citibikes there. Or uptown. Used by residents my ass. "

How dare this program I detest not be everywhere?! They rolled it out in a blunt and invasive way, yet not broadly enough! And too many tourists on Ave D according to the heatmap!

I just continue to assume that half the comments on here are clever parodies.

Anonymous said...

I'm so looking forward to the first major snowstorm of the season(it could come at any time now) if for no other reason than to check with the EVG-ers and see who has grifted snow from the bikes...

Anonymous said...

I got my key Monday night and I rode to work Tuesday. I usually walk and it took about a third of the time. After work I rode over to Stuytown to visit friends and later rode home and docked the bike at 6 and B. it was great. This neighborhood doesn't have great public transportation. I like taking the bus but it's usually faster to walk to work than take the 14 A. It does suck to have a giant Citibank logo on the bike but it must have cost a ton to set the program up so...
The people talking about bike rentals obviously never ride bikes. The great thing about bike share is you don't have to lug a big chain around with you and/or worry about your bike being stolen. My husbands had 2 bikes stolen in the last 3 years. And, for the record, I'm old (50s), not rich, and I've lived in the EV since 1981.

Anonymous said...

I find it sad so many people are... Dumb.

Citi Bike is great. It's been well received so far. I have seen a number of people use it. All kinds of people at that.

I have an annual, but have only used it a few times so far. No software issues but I did notice a few flats (I suspect vandalism). It really did make a difference when I needed it. In fact I usually cruise a little farther down the subway line considering the pleasant weather lately.

I just hope more areas get it soon. This would be a life changer in neighborhoods under served by the subway system. Especially those neighborhoods that typically require a bus to subway transfer.

I mean think about it. It's quick, it's healthy, it's privately sponsored, it's cheap compared to an unlimited or/and especially a cab, and it's low impact on the environment. Glad it finally arrived.

Anonymous said...

Ericfg,

In NYC only like 45% of households own a car, roughly 20% of workers commute to work in one. These statistics are skewed by East Queens and SI too. Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx have car ownership less then 35% per household. Inner city NYC (Manhattan, North Brooklyn, West Bronx) has like less then 28% car ownership per household.

I hate complaints over lost parking when most people don't even drive, and only a small percentage of New Yorkers drive into the areas Citi Bikes are located. That and Citi Bike only removed less then 1% of parking. They should slowly move more docks onto the street. Pedestrians first, then mass transit, bikes, and finally cars way, way last.

Citi Bike creates another way to get around. I'm all for it.

Anonymous said...

his Citibike rider just cruised on by looking at the buildings and not paying attention to the street and pedestrians and almost hit me (brushed me with this blue monstrosity) and when I told him to pay attention to the road he just kept looking at the buildings and cruising on by and not even paying attention to the vehicle traffic that had to stop or weave around him so as not to hit him.

Wow, that sounds completely different than most bikers! Damn this Citibike program for creating bikers who ignore traffic laws!

Anonymous said...

"Wow, that sounds completely different than most bikers! Damn this Citibike program for creating bikers who ignore traffic laws!"

actually it is creating alot of morons who dont wear helmets while biking.