NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Citi Bike is supposed to be all about convenience. But even with recent upgrades, riders are still wheeling into problems with the bike share program.
Tom Shpetner said he’s frustrated. He checked the Citi Bike app on his phone, which showed five working bikes at the Vesey Place and River Terrace station in Battery Park City, but when he put his Citi Bike key into those docks, none of the bikes worked — all were locked in place for repairs.
“Sometimes — and this is one of those times — nothing has worked in the dock, and it happens routinely,” he told CBS2’s Meg Baker.
Baker found multiple people who all had the same issue — they reached the docking station, only to find the bikes had a red light on, signaling they were awaiting repair.
“Sometimes you’ll come to a station and all of them will be lit, and you just don’t know why,” said Taylor Sele. “Some of the bikes look like they work, but you don’t have access to it.”
According to Citi Bike: “This is a very well-used system, bikes and docks will get damaged. It is our commitment to fix them quickly and effectively.”
Citi Bike says the average response time for broken docks and red-lit bikes is less than a day.
But riders cannot see on the app in real time if a bike is sitting in a dock with the red light on.
Transit expert “Gridlock” Sam Schwartz says the share program is getting back on the right path, but there are still issues.
“It’s a problem when we come to stations where you have a number of bikes that are broken,” he said.
Another issue is balancing empty stations versus full stations.
“Just the mismatch between docks and bikes,” Shpetner said. “Sometimes these racks are empty; sometimes they’re packed, and that forces me to fend, when I’ve got to ditch a bike or I need to be somewhere fast.”
“My suggestion for Citi Bike is they have more distribution of bikes, so you don’t have as many full docks and you have more spaces,” Brian Rains said.
All of the riders Baker spoke to agree that since first being implemented in May 2013 the service has improved. But they said when they pay for a service, they expect the bikes to be available, especially when the app says they are.
Citi Bike said it replaced the hardware at all 12,000 docking points this spring and old bikes will be phased out.
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