Tuesday, March 3, 2015

New Citi Bike agreement stresses needs of property owners near stations, pedestrians after snow

Making Citi Bike more accountable to businesses and residences that abut its stations is probably the biggest change in a new agreement reached between the city and Citi Bike’s new owners.

The new service level agreement appears for the first time in the January monthly report that New York City Bike Share provides to the city Department of Transportation.

Another big change is dropping any requirement about promptly restoring service after snowstorms. Instead, the new agreement focuses on the need for pedestrians for have clear paths along and through snow-clogged stations.

Here’s a rundown on all the changes in the new agreement:

  • It tightens language on station and bike inspections to make sure they are cleaned and litter removed once every two weeks.

  • It sets up a schedule to resolve station defects ranging from 24 hours for issues that impact nearby private property to 72 hours for appearance of station The old SLA gave Citi Bike 48 hours to correct all reported station issues and made no mention of private property.

  • It refines the deadline to remove broken bikes.The old SLA gave Citi Bike 96 hours to remove broken bikes that were reported or discovered by street crews. Now Citi Bike must remove bikes within 48 hours that are “wrenched,” i.e. the bike user pushes the wrench button when docking. Citi Bike still has 96 hours to remove bikes that are not wrenched.

  • It cuts Citi Bike a break on emergency removal of stations. The old SLA gave just 12 hours after notification from DOT to remove a station. Now it gets 48-hour notice. Citi Bike gets 72 hours after the emergency ends to reactivate a station.

  • It completely changes the approach to snow removal has completely The old SLA addressed getting stations free of snow. The new agreement abandons deadlines for reopening stations. Instead, it requires Citi Bike to shovel a pedestrian path along stations that are on sidewalks or in plaza within 12 hours of the storm’s end. And for stations on streets it requires a path through the station so people can get to the sidewalk.

  • Instead of a complicated formula for minimum fleet size, the new agreement sets a minimum of 3000 bikes on the streets during peak workday hours.

  • This one mystifies us, but the new SLA sets up something called Never-Die stations. Elaborating on this in its January report, Citi Bike said it “will begin to pilot 4 never-die stations in mid February 2015 and discuss with DOT plans to expand implementation of this service.”

  • It abandons a complicated formula for rebalancing empty/filled stations is replaced by a requirement that no station can stay out of service for more than four hours between 6 am and 10 pm.

It abandons a requirement that the Citi Bike call center answer a minimum 80% of calls.

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