Now that Citi Bike has been transferred away from busted old Alta Bicycle Share and into the hands of its new parent company Motivate, things are looking up for the long-suffering program. Regular users noticed this weekend that the stalls were down for system upgrades, and this morning, more details were announced.
Over the weekend, Citi Bike replaced its old, notoriously glitchy in-house software with smoother technology from 8D—the company behind other cities' successful systems that now-defunct software company Bixi initially opted away from in the interest of saving money.
Motivate's chief operating officer, Jay Walder, made no attempt to hide Citi Bike's past challenges, admitting that at any given time over the past winter, 20 of the system’s 332 stations went offline after eating through their solar-powered batteries, Streetsblog reports. After this weekend's switch-over, all stations are operational, with the sole exception of those removed for road work.
Some other big improvements:
The bikes themselves are also being overhauled, with maintenance completed on more than 4,250 of them already. The entire 6,000 bike fleet will be overhauled by summer.
Docking the bike will be made easier, with a more reliable confirmation when the bike is properly locked in.
Users can use the docks to notify Citi Bike that a bike is broken. A follow-up email will ask for specifics.
Daily, weekly, or annual pass holders can get a key fob dispensed directly to them via some stations, rather than waiting for the fob in the mail.
The valet program will be expanded to ensure that busiest stations are more reliably rebalanced, to prevent the scourge of dock-blocking. Additionally, it will be adding more satellite locations where it can store bikes, including Long Island City and near the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
“New Yorkers love Citi Bike despite the fact that the system wasn’t really built to handle the demands of this city," Walder said in a statement. "This work will help us to position Citi Bike to not only deliver better service, but to live up to its potential as a truly vital part of our city’s transportation network."