Monday, November 3, 2014

Monday, November 3 at 9:10am: No CitiBikes in Upper Hell's Kitchen

You would think on the coldest day in months, there might be more CitiBikes available, but alas, there were no bikes at the 52/8, 54/9 and 52/9 stations this morning at 9:10am.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

CitiBike has officially started charging $149 for yearly membership; closes renewal loophole

Well, that didn't take long.

When CitiBike officially announced on Tuesday, Oct. 28 that it was under new management and would be expanding, it also broke the bad news that the yearly membership fee would rise from $95 to $149.  At the time, they said "you may still sign up for a new membership or renew an existing subscription at the current $95 rate."

About 24 hours later, CitiBike closed the window for $95 renewals; the yearly annual fee is  now officially $149 (plus tax).

On top of this, there seemed to be a loophole whereby users could renew early, and extend a membership to 2016 (and possibly further - I didn't try).  This loophole is now closed.  You can now only renew for 1 year at a time.

I guess one benefit of Alta's mismanagement was their lax membership renewal guidelines, and unfortunately, that party's over.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

How to beat the impending CitiBike membership hike

Since it's now all but certain that CitiBike annual membership fees will increase (from $95/year to possibly $145), there is a way to dodge the price hike.

When CitiBike announces that Alta has been bought by REQX Ventures, and that the annual membership fee will increase, they can either make the price hike effective immediately or, more fairly, set a future date for the increase like Amazon did when it announced that Amazon Prime's fee would go up 5 weeks hence.

Just in case CitiBike makes a membership hike effective immediately, you are better off renewing now. Doing so isn't that difficult but it may not be obvious how to do so.

Here is how to renew your CitiBike membership now:

1. Log into Citibike by going to their website,

2. After you log in, it should take you to your Member Profile:

3. I believe by default, your membership is set to Automatic Renewal, which CitiBike defines as "Your plan will automatically renew near its expiration date to the Annual Membership plan."  You don't want this, because unless your membership is up in the next few days, the higher fee will be in place well before your membership auto-renews.  

Beside "Renewal Type", click "Change Setting".

4. Click "Switch to Manual Renewal"

5. Once you are back on the main profile page, in the Membership Information section, click Renew.

6. Confirm payment details and you're good for another year at the current $95/year rate!  It might be possible to renew repeatedly for multiple years, but I didn't bother try try that.  If anyone does, please let me know if it works.

7. In case you don't want to accidentally miss a renewal in 12+ months time, consider changing your Membership Renewal Type back to Automatic.

Enjoy another $95 year of CitiBike!

And next time you talk to a CitiBike rebalancer, dispatcher, any CitiBike representative or Jonathan Schulhof, please ask them to stock more bikes in Hell's Kitchen, especially the W54th and 9th Ave. station.

What the CitiBike Deal Will Mean for Riders

A deal to prop up the CitiBike system (as well as bike share systems in Boston, Washington DC, Toronto, Melbourne and other cities) was supposedly signed yesterday but there has been no official announcement yet, nor has there ever been any acknowledgement of what was on the table.

Here is a compilation of the improvements CitiBike may be making now that REQX Ventures has purchased CitiBike's operator, Alta Bicycle Share:

Deal takes shape to bolster Citi Bike - Capital New York (July 2)

- install new software
- stabilize system's finances
- perhaps expand it

Citi Bike Poised for a Big Infusion of Cash (July 23)

- expand to upper Manhattan and Queens and further into Brooklyn
- double bikes from 6200 to 12,000
- improve software

De Blasio Deal Could Give Bike Sharing in New York a New Imprint (July 27)

- address customer service issues
expected to begin next year and be completed by the end of 2017.
- extend into Queens, move deeper east into Brooklyn and farther north in Manhattan

There is no guarantee all of the above will happen but hopefully there will be some significant improvements, including better rebalancing so Hell's Kitchen CitiBike stations will no longer be devoid of bikes during rush hours.

These improvements will come at a cost - the price of an annual membership is reportedly going up from $95 - possibly to $140 or more.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

West 52nd/9th Ave CitiBike station fixed but Bike #02588 still stuck

The CitiBike station was fixed around 7pm Tuesday night:

The 1 bike remaining?  It's #02588, which has been stuck at this station for weeks.  Surely CitiBike should be able to know that a bike that's been at the same location for weeks is in need of attention?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tuesday, Oct. 14 at 9:30am: No CitiBikes at West 54th and 9th Ave.

An all to common sight at West 54th St. and 9th Ave.:

No CitiBikes at West 54th St. and 9th AVe. Tuesday Oct. 14 at 9:30am

West 52nd/9th Ave CitiBike station down and #02588 is still stuck

UPDATE: The O'Brien map shows the station has been down for up to 10 hours:

The CitiBike station at West 52nd St. and 9th Ave. is down - when you insert a fob, the LEDs don't light up.  The CitiBike map shows 8 bikes but they are all locked into the docks.  Why isn't the station grayed out on the map and app so people don't waste time walking to it?

Station down as of 9:30am Oct. 14.  LEDs don't light up

And CitiBike #02588 is still stuck at the station:

Monday, October 13, 2014

Desperate CitiBike #02588 Stuck in Dock; Pens Letter to CitiBike

UPDATE Oct. 13: Bike #02588 is still there.

CitiBike #02588 has been stuck at the West 52nd and 9th station for weeks, disappointing hopeful members who approach the station thinking they've happened upon the remaining bike in the area. In that time, it seems as though bike #02588 has learned how to write and with a pen and paper its found nearby, composed a letter to CitiBike asking to be released.

CitiBike: will you help out #02588?

Letter on CitiBike at West 52nd and 9th on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014

Empty West 54th/9th CitiBike Station October 8, 9 and 10

More photos of the empty W54/9th station at the end of morning rush:

Oct. 8 at 9:55am

Oct. 9 at 9:50am

Oct. 10 at 10am

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Empty West 54th/9th CitiBike Station in September

I haven't had time to post as frequently to this blog but I have still be taking photos of the deplorably empty West 54th St. / 9th Ave. CitiBike station.  After a one-time morning rush rebalancing in August, CitiBike has resumed ignoring this station.

The evidence in September:

Sept. 9 at 6pm

Sept. 8 at 10am

Sept. 12 at 9:55am - 2 broken bikes

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday Miracle: the West 54th St. and 9th Ave. station was rebalanced this morning

This morning, something remarkable happened: CitiBike added bikes to the W54 and 9th Ave. station - by my count, at least a dozen bikes around 9am.

Here is the proof:

CitiBike Station at West 54 and 9th Ave: Image captured Aug. 18 at 12:20pm

And here's the station at 9:50am:

From the graph above, you'll see that all the bikes were gone within about 1.5h, which shows that when the station is stocked with bikes, they will get used (there were 3 bikes checked out within a 2-minute span).  I hope CitiBike takes notice and realizes that it makes more sense to help out the empty stations in the morning rather than fill up the Broadway and 49/51/53/55 stations in anticipation of the evening rush 6+ hours in the future.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

CitiBike App shows misleading graphics

Has this happened to you?  The CitiBike app shows pin graphic with a little dark blue at the bottom, indicating that there are a few bikes at a station.  You walk there, only to discover that the graphic was wrong - the app knew that the station had 0 bikes (confirmed when you tap the pin) but was displaying the pin with a dark blue tip anyway.

The dark blue tip on the pin suggests that there are a few bikes at the CitiBike station, but tapping it reveals that the station is empty

The harsh reality: the station is empty

Is it so hard for the app not do display misleading graphics?

10 Days and counting: 8 CitiBikes stuck at West 52nd St. & 8th Ave. station

Since at least July 20, the north end of the CitiBike station at West 52nd St. and 8th Ave. has been down and bikes parked there can't be released.  In the past 10 days, the number of bikes stuck at the station has increased to 8.

At one point, the past weekend, the number of broken/stuck bikes at this station had ballooned to 12 until 6 of the broken bikes were removed by Monday.

12 broken bikes July 27 at 3:30pm

Friday, July 25, 2014

6 days and counting: CitiBike Station at West 52nd St. and 8th Ave. is still partially down

As of Friday night, CitiBike has still not attended to the station at 8th Ave. and West 52nd St., where 6 bikes are locked in place.

Friday, July 25 at 10am: Empty CitiBike station at West 54th St. and 9th Ave.

The CitiBike station at W54th St. and 9th Ave. in Hell's Kitchen is empty yet again at the end of morning rush.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

5 days and counting: CitiBike station in Hell's Kitchen still partially down

After over 5 days, the northern portion of the CitiBike station at West 52nd St. and 8th Ave. is still down, holding captive 6 bikes.  Note that the other two bikes at the station at 9:45am were broken and the lucky woman pictured got the last functioning bike.

Perhaps CitiBike wants this station to stay broken to sustain the illusion that there are plenty of CitiBikes in Hell's Kitchen?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

4 days and counting - CitiBike station at 8th Ave. and 52nd partially broken

The northern portion of the W52nd and 8th Ave. station has been broken since at least Sunday, July 20.  The docks are non-responsive to keys (no LED lights up), rendering the 6 (likely usable) CitiBikes captive.  In the last day, more broken bikes have been parked here, so as of this morning, there are 10 unusable CitiBikes at this station.

Do doubt if this was a station one block east on Broadway, it would have been attended to days ago.  CitiBike doesn't really care about Hell's Kitchen.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tuesday, July 22 at 9:45am: Partially broken station at 52nd and 8th Ave. - 6 CitiBikes held hostage

The station at 8th Ave. at 52nd St. has been partially broken since at least Sunday.  The northern portion of the station is non-responsive - the LEDs don't light up when you insert a key into the dock.  The result is 6 CitiBikes locked into place.  If you stand near the station, you will see CitiBike member after CitiBike member try to release the bikes and finally give up and walk away in frustration.

Tuesday, July 22 at 9:40am: The Haves and Have Nots in Midtown West and Hell's Kitchen

Empty stations in Hell's Kitchen west of 8th Ave., nearly full stations along Broadway.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday, July 20 at 1:45pm: No CitiBikes

A beautiful Sunday for a bike ride but no CitiBikes at the W54 & 9th station.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday, July 11, 2014

UPDATE: CitiBike graveyard at W38 St./8th Ave grows

Yesterday there were 6 red light CitiBikes at West 38th St. and 8th Ave. This morning there are 8 at the east end of the station. Is it some sort of contagion affecting bikes here?

UPDATE July 11: The sad, broken bikes have been removed!  Hopefully they will have a fast convalescence and soon be back on the street, but most likely not parked at a station in Hell's Kitchen :(

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Thursday, July 10 at 10am: No CitiBikes at 54/9

Back to normal!  No CitiBikes at West 54 and 9th Ave. 

For the past couple of days there have been 3 red light specials parked at that station:

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

W38th St and 8th Ave: where CitiBikes go to die

Since yesterday at least six broken CitiBikes have been residing at the West 38th st. and 8th ave station.

I suppose it's better than yesterday when the entire station was down in the morning and bikes couldn't be docked or removed:

Wrongheaded CitiBike rebalancing continues unabated in Midtown/Hell's Kitchen

This morning at 9:30am, I saw a rebalancer - the same guy pictured here - with his precious cargo of 4 CitiBikes riding up Broadway (going opposite the designated direction).  He rode by the Broadway/51st St. station but would have added bikes there except the station was full.  He continued up Broadway and I am pretty certain he added his bikes to the Broadway/53rd St. station:

This is just so wrongheaded because that station was already 3/4 full, with 30+ bikes.  Meanwhile, one avenue block west, the 8th Ave./52nd St station was empty (I know because I walked by it) and the CitiBike app showed the 9th Ave/54 and 9th Ave/52 stations were empty.

It's clear that the powers that be at CitiBike have targeted Broadway for rebalancing, perhaps to get tourists to pony up for the more lucrative $10 day passes, and are ignoring the members who live in Hell's Kitchen.

Here is a snapshot of the Haves (red means full) and Have Nots (blue means empty). The highlighted circle is the Broadway/51st. station.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Tuesday, July 2 at 9:50am: 4 red light specials at West 54th and 9th Ave.

I thought I had seen a mirage - 4 bikes at the W54 and 9 Citibike station - but it turned out to be 4 red lights.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday, June 27 at 6pm: No CitiBikes (What's New?)

TGIF!  The end of the work week would be a great time to take CitiBike out for a spin...if there were any bikes at my local station West 54th St and 9th Ave :(

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tuesday, June 24 at 9:50am: Why is CitiBike adding bikes to a station that's almost full?

The CitiBike stations at West 54th St. and 9th, West 52nd St. and 9th and West 52nd. St. and 8th are empty:

Now, I had always thought that the always-full station at Broadway and 52nd was full because morning commuters were docking their CitiBikes there.  But this morning I found a rebalancer ADDING more bikes to this station:

Why is CitiBike not using rebalancers to add bikes to stations that are empty?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Monday, June 23 at 9:40am: No CitiBikes at W54/9 and W52/9 and Station at W52/8 is broken

The CitiBike stations at West 54th St. and 9th Ave and West 52nd St. and 9th Ave. are empty during the end of the morning rush (as usual)...

...while the more reliable 8th Ave. station at 52nd St. is broken:

You may not be able to tell, but all these bikes have red lights.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Thursday, June 12 at 10:30am: No CitiBikes at 54/9, 52/9, 52/8, 49/8 while 49/Broadway almost full

This morning there are no CitiBikes at the West 54th St. and 9th, 52nd and 9th and 52nd and 8th stations.  Though the map says there is 1 bike at 48th b/w 8th and 9th, the dock won't release it.  I needed go get a bike from my 5th choice station today.

The Broadway and 49th St. station is almost full. With CitiBike making more of an effort to rebalance, why isn't it doing any rebalancing in Hell's Kitchen, which desperately needs it?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014