Citi Bike has been positively raining misfortune as of late. Just days after news broke that the popular program is mired in debt and lagging behind on its upkeep, it turns out that the general manager of NYC Bike Share—which operates Citi Bike—is leaving his post. The Daily News reports that Justin Ginsburgh is fleeing the embattled program to work at a private construction consulting firm.
“[Justin’s] experience in managing complex real estate deals as well as City and State politics made him ideal for this position and this time,” Alta Bicycle Share spokeswoman Dani Simons told the tabloid. “He is departing New York City Bike Share to serve as a special adviser to Peter Lehrer, the principal of Lehrer, LLC, world-renowned for managing large scale complex construction projects.”
Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg has been refreshingly upfront when it comes to voicing Citi Bike's problems. "There have been significant financial and operational issues, including redistribution of bikes to where the riders are, and technology, resulting in malfunctioning stations and failed credit card transactions,” she said. “We expect the system's operator, NYC Bike Share, to resolve these issues so the system can perform effectively and ultimately expand.”
The DOT's press office, however, has been considerably more opaque than their commissioner. Asked to confirm whether Alta's failure to maintain Citi Bikes and their docks is a result of its flagging financial situation, we received a link to its monthly operating reports and the following statement:
We’re pleased that New York City Bike Share is releasing this data so the program’s stakeholders and the public can see first-hand how Citi Bike is functioning, understand the work that remains to be done and contribute to the conversation about where bike share is headed. We remain committed to working with the system’s operator to address these important financial and operational issues so that the very popular Citi Bike - which just reached 7 million rides - can perform even better.
Eddie Inlow, the former GM for Chicago's Divvy program and current COO of Alta Bike Share, will temporarily act as Ginsburgh's replacement. Citi Bike has also posted a statement on its blog (whimsically titled, "Keep Calm and Citi Bike On"):
Contrary to the chatter in the media, Citi Bike is alive and growing.
This week we welcomed our 100,000th Annual Member and our riders pedaled their 7 millionth mile.
Last Friday and Saturday as the temperatures climbed above freezing riders took over 20,000 trips each day. We are preparing for and eagerly awaiting Spring when we expect even more people to enjoy the fun and convenience of Citi Bike, heading back to our warm weather average of 36,000 trips per day.
There are pieces of news that have come out about our system in recent days that we wanted to address here directly.
First, our parent company, Alta Bicycle Share is looking for investors to help grow Citi Bike into new neighborhoods and communities. Unlike other bike share systems in other cities that have public investment Alta must turn to private investors to help grow our system here. Alta is financially sound and is more committed than ever to making bike share a daily part of American life across the country.
Second, our General Manager will be departing in the coming weeks. He saw us through the launch of the largest bike share system in North America, including deployment of 332 stations and 6,000 bikes in a record short time frame. He will be moving on to a company that manages complex, large scale construction projects. We wish him the best in his new endeavors and welcome Eddie Inlow, former General Manager of Divvy Bikes in Chicago and current COO of Alta Bicycle Share, who will oversee general operations as we conduct a national search.
We thank all of our members and riders for their support over the past year and over the past week. We want you to know that we are committed to providing the best service possible and continuing to work with you to make this not only the biggest, but the best bike share system.