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