Citi Bike's descent into the financial doldrums is becoming outwardly apparent, with employees lagging behind on making repairs to broken bikes and docks and failing to handle vandalization in a timely manner.
According to the Daily News, the number of docks repaired within 48 hours fell from 64 percent in August to 50 percent in January, despite an agreement forged with Alta Bicycle Share, the program's operator, that 99 percent of downed docks would be back up and running within that time frame.
In addition, each bike is supposed to be given a once-over every month, though in January, only 45 percent got their check-up. In December, that number was reduced to 34 percent. The contract also demands that 98 percent of vandalizations are remedied within four days—in January, only 37 percent were, though that's still a considerable improvement over February's 8 percent.
Rebalancing the stations has also proved problematic, and almost every Citi Bike user can attest to the frequency with which credit card readers are found to be non-functioning—problems that were also reported by Alta Bicycle Share.
It was reported last week that Alta Bicycle Share was forced to lay off workers whose job it is to maintain the bikes and docks, perhaps contributing to the current dismal statistics. (DOT has yet to respond to a request for comment confirming whether the company's financial distress is the cause of the under-served stations.)
Citi Bike launched in May of last year after experiencing several setbacks, namely, trouble with the program's now notoriously glitchy software, as well suffering severe damage at the hand of Hurricane Sandy. The harsh winter has helped neither ridership nor been easy on Citi Bike infrastructure, exacerbating the problem. Last week, Mayor de Blasio effectively crushed any hope that the program—the country's largest—might receive any public funding to help alleviate its financial woes.