Monday, December 29, 2014

Another week in the red zone

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Worst week yet for empty Citi Bike stations. Need more feet on the street

We will record about 450,000 rides this December, about 60% lower than the highest usage of the year, in July. Yet two weeks in December have been the most imbalanced of the year.
When we compare the five weeks of July to the last five weeks of deep autumn, the average NotSpot Index is 31 vs. 43. So with 60 percent less pressure on the system, service -- in terms of being able to get a bike -- deteriorates by 40%. What’s up with that?

Since the new owners took over on Oct. 31, there’s been plenty of talk of having deep pockets, like this from new Alta CEO Jay Walder in New York magazine:
“(The new owners) said, ‘Go to it, you have our full support, invest money.’ They know that we need to continue to build up our human resources, our skills, our knowledge base in different areas. Clearly -- clearly -- they are looking to make sure that we are delivering on the things that we need to do. And there are 8 million people in the City of New York who will be watching that, too.
We continue to press the point: Keeping the system near balance is, as Mr. Walder puts it,  a matter of “human resources.” Citi Bike proved last summer (that lovely swath of green in the middle of the chart) that they can keep the system near balance.
Last Monday at 9:30 am, 25 percent of stations had no bikes. Time to put your money where your mouth is, Citi Bike. Get more feet on the street.

The O’Brien map
NYC Bike Share monthly reports

Tool: Datawrapper

Monday, December 15, 2014

Daily bike count shows that the Dec. 3 station outage really was unprecedented

The number of available bikes plunged to the low of the year -- 2179 -- during the Wednesday, Dec. 3 crash that knocked more than 60 stations off line. That day, the number of operating docks dropped from a normal 11,299 at 8:30 am to 8841 at 12:30 pm -- 21% of the system.
Citi Bike later blamed a T-Mobile connectivity issue for the problem. The system did not fully recover until after nightfall.

Source: The O’Brien map

Saturday, December 13, 2014

So which big news outlet didn’t get advance copy of Comptroller’s Citi Bike report?

We can’t say for certain, but as of Saturday morning, the NY Times had yet to produce one word about the audit. It’s possible they were on the leak list but found the report so demoralizing that it wasn’t fit to print.

  • Andrew Tangel of the Wall Street Journal gets credit for breaking the story -- at 8:42 pm Thursday night.  Tangel also broke the news back in early May that negotiations were under way to buy out Alta.

  • So which reporters are on Scott Stringer’s must-call list. They would be:
Wall Street Journal
Andrew Tangel
NY Post
Daniel Prendergast
11:59 PM
Vivian Lee
amNew York
Dan Rivoli
Associated Press
Verena Dobnik
NY Daily News
Annie Karni
WNYC (Transportation Nation)
Kate Hinds
Capital New York
Dana Rubinstein

Look at the times Hinds and Rubinstein filed. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

  • These news outlets devoted staff to cover the story after the comptroller’s office went public with it Friday morring:

NY Observer
Jillian Jorgensen
NY Business Journal
DNA Info
Jeff Mays
Tim Fleischer
Sarah Zhang
NY Magazine (Intelligencer)
Jen Kirby
Curbed NY
Zoe Rosenberg
Next City

  • Our vote for the worst headline? The Post’s City audit proves wheel messy for embattled Citi Bike”

Friday, December 12, 2014

Citi Bike ceased in-field safety inspections for 4 straight months (and stayed mum about it)

Link to this visualization

The dotted line shows the period when Citi Bike stopped field inspections entirely.

You would think the layoff of 16 field inspectors and the complete discontinuance of checking bikes for four months, both for mechanics and for safety, would merit some kind of heads up to the DOT. Apparently not.

New York Bike Share simply stopped reporting the number and made no written mention of the layoffs. Here’s what the October 2013 report said about maintenance:

All bicycles were inspected in the field or in the depots this month...The bike shop completed 2,134 total repairs in October, including the refurbishment of 89 bicycles damaged during Sandy.

Prior to October and resuming in February, monthly reports include a hard number for in-field inspections.

Tools: Datawrapper, Google Sheets

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

New Yorkers overwhelmingly use bike-share system for that ‘Last Mile’

When Citi Bike launched, it was greeted with great enthusiasm and people took longer trips. Both this year and last, trips got shorter as the weather cooled and fewer people took fewer pleasure trips.  In 2014, miles per trip peaked in the spring. We suspect the enthusiasm factor was at work here, too, people emerging from a harsh winter.

In New York the overwhelming use of the bike-share system is to get people across that Last Mile, like home to subway, subway to work place. Streetsblog explains it all.

Our personal best is 4.7 miles from the Financial District up the Hudson, ending at Penn Station. About as much as we can do within the 45-minute limit.

Source: NYC Bike Share monthly reports
Tools: Datawrapper, Google Sheets