Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Judge dismisses Plaza Hotel lawsuit

An excerpt
The street in front of the Plaza is exceptionally wide but just one block long — the only transportation function is to drop off and pick up people and things at the hotel. Before the bike-share station went in, idle livery vehicles took up the same space.
So, Judge Cynthia Kern was having none of it. “This congestion appears to be the Plaza’s own creation and does not appear to be solely caused by the bike share station,” she wrote in her decision [PDF].

Maybe Facebook people are just grumpier than Twitter people

For some reason, Citi Bike members lodge complaints much more on Facebook than they do on Twitter. Here’s a collection of complaints made during April:

April 30

Neal Spivack
I'm very frustrated by Citi Bike's performance over the past few days. Every day, I'm encountering docks with no bikes, docks that don't work, and full docks. This program is too valuable for it to work like this!
April 29

Simona Giunta
59th & York station no one can take bikes out... and now it's even raining! Please, sort out this mess!
April 28
Erich Graham
why is it that 2 weekdays every week there are no bike rebalancers at Penn Station in the morning? i hope it's not to cut costs by making morning commutes even more unreliable

April 25

My new walk of shame is where I wander my neighborhood in my cycling clothes looking for a #CitiBike rack with any bikes to take to work.

April 18
Kevin Sudeith
The wheels are coming off in Brooklyn Heights. After closing two stations, remaining stations are all full. App shows docks when docks are broken. Citibike doesn't work if it leaves you farther from home than you started off.

April 17
Noah White
The dock on 47 and lex is always packed or empty. How about another one really close by. Thanks!!

April 13
Beautiful day, dead key, 25 minutes on hold for temporary resolution! Not fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

April 12
Agnes Cao
Are any of the bikes at Union Square working? I tried my key at a couple places and it doesn't work.
April 9
Steven Schacht
Now that Citi Bike has announced they are not making a profit, the stations are not be repaired. Shame on you Citi Bike. Every station I have gone to recently there are always issues. Always bikes in the stations but you can never get them out and sometimes you cannot dock the bikes. 47/10 is the worst.

April 2
Jill Renaud
Was citibike behaving badly for anyone else yesterday? My key was unable to unlock a bike at three different stations yesterday evening...

Here’s how one member solved her home station’s dock-lock problem

Another great Facebook posting

Danielle Baskin
Hi Citibike,

As there currently isn't any method of tagging docks that are unable to dock, I sometimes repeatedly try to lock my bike to the same dock every night like a fool, as I don't know if it has been fixed yet or even which dock it was.

So I made stickers as a memo for myself! Which will in effect save lots of time and frustration for other people from slamming their bikes at broken docks - they can just see the memo and try a different one. This also might save the Citibike team time while they search for the right docks to repair. Totally suggesting crowdsourcing an error report by making stickers available to those samaritan's who would take an extra 10 seconds to tag a dock right after noticing it isn't working. Bulk stickers are cheap and easy to carry. And so this seems like a good intermediary solution till there's an error button, similar to the one the bikes themselves have.

Let me know if this is helpful! (or if I'm being meddlesome and should stop doing this).

Check your ride history closely, annual member warns

This was posted on Citi Bike’s Facebook page yesterday
Jim Sabiston
IMPORTANT: just had a good exchange with one of the Citibike help persons and learned something I thought I'd pass on. First, the help person was polite, helpful and informative and seemed genuinely surprised when I thanked her profusely for being so helpful.

Here is the main bit: after getting a yellow light when docking yesterday I checked my ride history and discovered a half dozen open rides that had not been there before! These were all green light dockings and I did not see them previously when spot checking my history. The Citibike help person said that this was a glitch they were experiencing in the system and they were working on a fix and that no charges would be issued for those open rides.

Having received two mystery overtime charges in the past under similar circumstances I will confess to being less than comfortable with this situation. At my request, those open rides were closed out. Now I have to go back to my credit card history and see if any more charges were posted.

The reality is that you better check your ride history for these errors, even if you received a green docking light! My open ride listings were all green light docking close outs! One was just yesterday morning, so I am absolutely certain of this. When I did not get a green light, I checked right away as has now become my habit and discovered the larger issue. The open rides were not there the last time I skimmed my history page a couple of weeks ago.

Ultimately, this is why I will not be renewing my Citibike membership when it expires. The time and effort I have to put in chasing and correcting the faults in the system are just killing the benefits for me. I shouldn't have to worry about false charges all the time and police my ride history and credit card bills because of inherent system faults. I'm done.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Citi Trike to the rescue: But just one?

An excerpt
On Monday, the Truck Trike will be in the spotlight as Alta Bicycle Share hosts a media event and launch party prior to sending it off to New York City. As a new tool in the Citi Bike operational arsenal, the Truck Trike will focus on the task of rebalancing — which means it will ferry bicycles between kiosks so that bike share users won't confront an empty (or full) stations.


Only one? We need more like one per neighborhood.

Now you can watch your station fill up before you get there

An excerpt
We're the first company to produce a smartphone mount that works on the irregular handlebars in practically all the widespread, worldwide bike share programs. Started by small group of designers, cyclists, iPhone users, and New York residents, who mutually find attaching a phone to their bicycles to be useful, we designed a reliable and elegant product that works, really well. This holder case lets you travel with more convenience: accessing GPS, your timer, and dock/bike availability and locations.

Monday, April 28, 2014

A new Worst Day of the Year

It’s becoming pretty obvious: Fine weather diminishes the system’s performance. At 10:30 am, Monday fully 25 percents of the stations we’re either empty or full -- a record 81 NotSpots.  With a NotSpot 59 for the day, this goes down as the Worst Day of the Year.

Empty/full stations

Week 16 summary: Just the 2nd worst of the year

WEEK 1648TUE W1643WED W1644THU W1637*FRI W1637

Searched 'second worst week'
What's there to say about a week that's only the second worst of the year? That it would have been worse but for Thursday's howler, that's what. Put it down with a NotSpot 42.

Hit a record 16 full stations on a blustery Wednesday at 10:30 am. And par for the course for a record belonging to only the second worst week, that didn't hold up long. Surpassed 4/28. New record, 18.

Average number of bikes on the street: 4625

Tribeca’s Greenwich St & N Moore St had the system's longest downtime -- 18 empty hours starting around 6 pm Thursday.

Among neighborhoods served, Brooklyn's Clinton Hill had it the toughest, with 76 NotSpot hours shared among its nine stations.

At 10:30 Monday, 25% of stations empty or full.

That's right. NotSpots hit a record 72 at 9:30 and 81 at 10:30 am. Previous record high for the year was 70, set on April 7.

The screenshots below reflect Manhattan and Brooklyn shortly after 10:30 am. White circles with border = empty stations. Bluest stations with border = filled stations.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Backpedaling on our NEVER bike to a full station tweet

N766AN had this comment about our post on how long, on average, filled stations stay filled:
“I disagree, I would always ride to the station regardless. It won't take 3.2 hours for someone in Manhattan to pick up a bike at that station, in practice someone already did, and worst case you ride a couple of blocks to the next (less convenient) station.”

To a certain extent, N76 is right.  There are stations that seem to go this way  -- fill, 1 out, fill, one out, fill again -- in what looks like nanoseconds.  Here’s an example from this morning’s survey:

ExampleOfA1r  2014-04-25 09.53.21.png
From right to left = most recent to 24 hours ago
See what we mean? E27AndOne is a three-hour succession of in and outs of a mostly filled station. The way we do things, E27AndOne goes down as NotSpot and we check at the end of the day to see how long it stayed a NotSpot.

But we consider it a NotSpot because it’s not a reliable station. In a follow-up comment, N76 writes “ if I'm willing to wait 10 minutes or so…”

We say that boat don’t float.

If a bike hasn’t departed in the time it takes to dismount, unglove, fish out the phone, unspotify, open app and find another spot for this hunk of metal suddenly chained to my ankle, then I’m gone.

If a bike departs while I'm in that process, I’m not only good looking, I’m a Lucky Man and this is a Beautful Day. At least that’s the kind of rider we’re producing this blog for.

That said, our method of collecting data on stations that are empty or filled completely ignores those stations that go down for less than an hour. Back to the chart. E27AndOne went empty for about 30 minutes at 14 hours from the right. We didn't count that as a NotSpot.

But it was too glib of us to say NEVER head for a station that is full when you start your ride. To a certain extent, bike sharing in NYC is like riding the rapids. You can make good speed if you know how to shoot the chute.

More properly we should have found a Twitter way to say: don’t do it if you’re not familiar with your destination station.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

My destination station is full. Do I bike to it anyway?

So the dilemma is, if my destination station is filled when I get my bike, should I bet that a spot will open up by the time I get there? Dilemma solved. NEVER. Here’s why:

During the past two weeks (the beginning of Quarter 2) the average time it took a station once filled to have an open dock was:
Manhattan: 3.2 hours
Brooklyn: 3.5 hours

The numbers for Q1 are worse, but they’re ice encrusted:
Manhattan: 4.5 hours
Brooklyn: 7.3 hours

Unless you know the time the station filled up, and you can’t, chances are you’re driving yourself into trouble.

We think today will get a weather asterisk

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

You gotta watch it to believe it

Watch video of Tyrone Williams breaking the boundaries of what a 45 lb Citibike can do

Citi Bike excels at controlling filled stations vs. London and Paris

We think we really, really like the baskets on the Paris bikes
Today’s new record 16 filled stations (at 10:30 am), reminded us that controlling filled stations is an area of operations where Citi Bike excels compared to London and Paris. Sixteen filled stations is 5 percent of all operating stations.
During the two-week period where we monitored all three cities, the average number of filled stations during a survey was:

NYC 1.3%
London 2.6%
Paris 7.9%

NotSpot snapshot: An epidemic of stations with one bike, Battery to Meatpacking district

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Judge hears Plaza Hotel’s case against Citibike station across street


Week 15 Summary

WEEK 1544WEEK 1522*WEEK 1533WEEK 1528WEEK 1528

The combination  of Spring Break, Passover, Good Friday and a rainy day probably gets the credit for this week’s stay in the Green Zone. For the week, a NotSpot 31.

  • Recorded 67 NotSpots at that most dangerous hour, 9:30 am on Monday
  • Stuyvesant Town, which topped Week’s 14 NotSpots by Neighborhood list, recorded but three hours during Week 15
  • Available bikes peaked at 5179 on Thursday
  • This blog now routinely seeing 100+ page views daily

The bike-sharing street is rising in protest

A fellow blogger has developed a blog devoted to the often bikeless 54 St & 9 Ave. station.

No surprise, the station is No. 2 on last week's Top Ten NotSpots

Monday, April 21, 2014

That Citibike takes pressure off MTA needs to be part of the money discussion

An excerpt

Because people use the bikes to commute, docks in mostly residential areas empty out in the morning, while docks in Midtown and downtown fill up. Last October, Alta moved 1,940 bikes around every day. There simply aren’t enough bikes and bike docks to meet current demand.

Leaked report suggests Citi Bike could make money without public subsidy

The analysis, acquired by Capital, suggests the following, now that the system's early software and start-up challenges have largely abated: If the bike system’s troubled operator (Alta Bicycle Share, which runs the city program through its subsidiary NYC Bike Share) and its troubled equipment supplier (Bixi) can find new, more competent owners or investors, the system could become a sustainable or even profitable operation, and could maybe even subsist at its current size without public funding.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

NotSpot snapshot: 9 of 19 Fort Greene stations empty around 10 am today

The map

Public Advocate: Bike-share operator seeks $140 annual fee

The city Department of Transportation has postponed a planned expansion of Citi Bike into parts of Upper Manhattan and Queens. The department has also resisted a proposal floated by Citi Bike's operator to raise the price of an annual membership from $95 to $140.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

DK Watch comes to an end: Rain fixes what Citi Bike wouldn't

DK&V’s string of 13 straight weekdays of Notspotting by 9 am came to an end this rainy Tuesday.

The String
Empty 8 am Day 13, Mon, April 13
Empty 9 am Day 12, Fri, April 11
Empty 9 am Day 11, Thu, April 10
Empty 7 am Day 10 Wed, April 9
Empty 7 am Day 9 Tue, April 1
Empty 8 am Day 8 Mon, April 7
Empty 8:30 am Day 7 Fri, April 4
Empty 8:30 am Day 6 Thu, April 3
Empty 7:30 am Day 5 Wed, April 2
Empty 8:30 am Day 4 Tue, April 1
Empty 9 am Day 3 Mon, March 31
Empty 8:30 am Day 2 Fri, March 28
Empty 8 am Day 1 Thu, March 27

For the record