Citi Bike logjam seems to be loosening

When I first started writing this post in late December, the title was “It’s impossible to dock a City Bike these days.” I wasn’t the only person to notice; H. texted a few times — the first as far back as September — that the lack of open docks was all the talk at the stations around Chambers and West. Plus I had several emails including this one: “In the past few months there has been a great problem with Citibike service in that there are very often no empty docks in the neighbourhood to dock a returning bike.”

But in the past couple weeks, things seem to have stabilized. Maybe it’s the cold? The holidays? Or maybe some of the mitigations are working.

The folks at Lyft, who operate Citi Bike, knew they had issues. Here is their most recent analysis:

  • The single day ridership record continues to top itself. The biggest to date is 135,005; last year’s all-time record was 103,159.
  • On standard weekday commutes, there are typically 45% more evening commuters than morning commuters.
  • Weekend ridership to Fidi has increased 7 percent since covid
  • Riders typically like to ride downhill rather than uphill, so a lot of bikes leave the UWS and head south. (See my screenshots from the app from a ride on Dec. 19)
  • Riding patterns are more complicated and unpredictable since the pandemic, with hybrid work schedules layered on top of schools reopening, and warm weather recreational rides that don’t follow traditional commuting patterns, creating imbalances in the system.
  • Supply chain disruptions and labor shortages also affect the system. And, when more people are riding bikes more often, the bikes have more maintenance needs.
  • In colder months, Lyft pares down valet services — there are only eight locations across the whole system right now. (The only one for Tribeca is at Citi HQ — Greenwich and N. Moore — weekdays 6-10a and 4-8p.)

So what are they doing about it?

  • A new benefit to Bike Angels: $5 in ebike credits for every 10 points.
  • Doubled Bike Angels points to encourage more riders to participate.
  • A new Bike Angels feature called streaks, which gets riders double points when they do multiple Bike Angels rides in a row.
  • During warmer months, Lyft operates additional Tribeca valets at both Murray & West and at Lispenard & Broadway.

Also, this from the spokesperson at Lyft:
“Tribeca is one of our priority neighborhoods for improving dock availability, which we achieve through motorized rebalancing and bike moves. In the last month, Lyft has improved dock availability in Tribeca by 10 percent, and we are continuing to work to improve that number. There is no set rebalancing schedule or route for Tribeca, as rebalancing and bike moves change dynamically throughout the week based on rider patterns and demand.”

Finally, write them:
“We are always looking for feedback from our riders, and would love to hear from your readers directly. They should feel free to send their comments, questions and suggestions to https://citibikenyc.com/contact.”

 
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4 Comments

  1. Has anyone noticed that instead of doubling the points this week, they are cutting them in half. You essentially get 1/2 of what the screen shows rather than double, which is 1/4 of what they should be allocating after the ride is complete. I reported the issue three days ago, but the issue has still not been addressed. One would guess the IT staff has incorrectly programmed the algorithm.

    • Yes, and I’ve complained many many times, to no avail. They just ignore my questions and promote their 2X boost program instead.

  2. As frustrating as they can be, I do find that if you fill out this form (https://lyft-bikes-scooters.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/requests/new?ticket_form_id=360000807254), attach screenshots of your ride summery showing the missing points- and here’s the tough one- screenshots showing app points as they were shown during your ride- they quickly and cheerily give you your missing points. I just now automatically do a screen grab of my starting and finishing stations just before I take my ride, as insurance.

  3. My (grown) kids are big Citibikers. Me not so much, with my own bikes and fairly fixed routes. I love the system, of course, it’s such a great mobility service. And it’s fun seeing “Inside Baseball” discourse about bikesharing on a non-biking site. Kind of ratifies the slow but steady trend toward moving biking into the NYC mainstream.

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