Saturday, March 22, 2014

CitiBike not popular among tourists

From the Wall Street Journal:

Leaders of Citi Bike are moving quickly to raise tens of millions of dollars to rescue the popular bike-share program as it loses money, according to people familiar with the matter.

Leaders of New York's Citi Bike are moving quickly to raise tens of millions of dollars to rescue the popular bike-share program as it loses money. Andrew Tangel reports on the News Hub. Photo: Getty Images.

Citi Bike's bright blue bicycles have become a seemingly indispensable part of some city neighborhoods, but its managers don't believe it can survive if it doesn't become more appealing to tourists and expand to new neighborhoods, the people familiar with the matter said.

The program's leaders have approached officials in Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration about raising Citi Bike's rates, the people said.

One issue is that Citi Bike has proved more popular than expected with annual users who generate comparatively little revenue. Some 99,000 people pay $95 a year plus tax to be able to use the bikes for 45 minutes at a time.

The potential for far greater revenue, however, is with short-term users. Many of those were expected to be tourists, and they haven't used the bikes nearly as much as officials had anticipated, people familiar with the matter said.

A 24-hour pass costs $9.95 plus tax and a seven-day pass costs $25 plus tax. Purchasing short-term passes has proved difficult due in part to balky kiosks that accept payment for the bikes and computer glitches.

Operational difficulties have also troubled Citi Bike. The task of moving bikes to respond to the patterns of commuters—those who grab a bike in the West Village to Midtown in the morning but may not ride it home at night—has been more cumbersome than expected in New York City traffic. That has raised costs.

Also, some 50 batteries have to be changed manually at the system's 330 docking stations every night, requiring Citi Bike to hire a subcontractor just to do the job, according to people familiar with the matter.

Citi Bike has been forced to lay off some workers because of the financial strain, which has made it more difficult to operate the sprawling network and respond to customers, the people familiar with the matter said.


Anonymous said...

This will be a tough nut to crack.

Anonymous said...

"Some 99,000 people pay $95 a year plus tax to be able to use the bikes for 45 minutes at a time."

If I lived and worked in Manhattan I'd spring for this. Even if I just skipped a dozen taxi rides a year I'd be ahead. And the price of MTA transportation also makes it worthwhile (without the hassles of other riders). So I'd raise the rates.

The real problem is that Manhattan street traffic is essentially incompatible with bikes.

georgetheatheist said...

Roller skates?

J said...

the tourists are stupid enough to get gouged by chain hotels,hot dog vendors,halal stands,and pedicabs but they avoid riding the shitibikes.hysterical.

there are lots of other bike rentals in midtown that popped up that are doing fine because the bikes they rent out are the standard frames,have more gears and lighter,probably cheaper to rent too.

and yes,they are probably scared to ride on the streets,lots of reckless drivers and those crazy motorized food delivery bikes immigrant asian and spanish ride.(I call them-pussybikes)

Anonymous said...

Even Lomdoners fear walking , much less biking in NYC. Google some of their news media about NYC, and mire often than not, one will come across an article concerning the dangerous streets of NYC.

Anonymous said...

Those bikes are big, clunky, and heavy. They are also very uncomfortable . I prefer using my own.

Anonymous said...

Why is the city just begging for lawsuits with this absurd project?

Doesn't everyone see just how out-of-control the drivers (and pedestrians) are in NYC? Most of the drivers probably don't even have licenses. It's common in Queens for the drivers to flee the scene after an accident.

Why would anyone want to inflict this dangerous nonsense on innocent tourists from civilized European countries?

Anonymous said...

BOHICA Alert... Guess who's going to pay for bailing them out?

Look for press conferences from the various city council twerps advocating a city financed bail out, because you know, BIKES!

georgetheatheist said...

"Most of the drivers probably don't even have licenses."

El Futuro: Peralta, the State Senator, is working on eliminating drivers licenses . . . por todos! Aieeee! Mucho gusto.

georgetheatheist said...

The Scream Act.

Anonymous said...

I really don't care. such a stupid idea. why does Shitty bank get into the bike rental business?

what happened to small operations that rented bicycles?

Anonymous said...

Somebody got a "blue job" outta this bike program for sure.

Have you noticed how our former nanny state mayor Bloomberg's pet projects are failing?

Rip up those disruptive and dangerous bike lanes!

I can see bike paths along the rivers with a few cross town access routes but the current follies are expensive and stupid.

Anonymous said...

The city thought that all these people were going to be using bikes when they took away parking and travel lanes and put in the bike lanes.

However in reality they are hardly used. A few bikes here and there do not justify the loss of parking and vehicle lanes.

Anonymous said...

Practically all of Central Queens, is without bike lanes. Why is that?

Anonymous said...

Keep the bike lanes but only make them active on weekends between may 1 and oct 1.

Anonymous said...

Anon No. 14: Count your blessings.

Anonymous said...

WhiteBike was a system designed for well-off white urban youth, disguised as a public service.

The proof is in its sponsor and in its locations.

Anonymous said...

Stupid idea in the first place this is NYC not some utopia land. The bikes are taking up valuable city space. The city was doing just fine without them.