Citi Bikes have now joined chickens and babies on the list of things people occasionally abandon in Brooklyn. According to The Post, over sixty-seven of the blue bikes have been found discarded in the borough, tossed away after a stolen joy ride or two.
Most of the abandoned bikes were found around East New York, Brownsville, and Crown Heights. According to The Post, "at least 12 of the abandoned bikes turned up in Brownsville, 15 in Crown Heights and 40 in East New York." Found bikes are gathered and held until Citi Bike officials come to claim them, sort of like sad lost dogs without any fur and creepy blue skin.
These are areas largely underserved by Citi Bike, although several docking stations are planned for the Prospect Heights area, edging close to Crown Heights.
The stolen bikes are usually the result of poor docking jobs or broken stations. This past March, Alta Bicycle Share laid off workers whose job it is to maintain the bikes and docks. As a result, Citi Bike's rates of repair and maintenance dropped precipitously—in January, only 37 percent of vandalized bikes were repaired within four days.
The reduced maintenance creates the ideal scenario for someone looking to snag a free bike on someone else's dime. Users of the service who don't return bikes are charged $1,200.
Of course Brooklyn is not the only borough where thieves can dump their post joy-ride bikes. This Citi Bike was left behind a fence uptown. These were found in an Upper East Side basement. These were sitting on Broadway between 84th and 85th for over a month.
Thus far the response from Citi Bike to the stolen vehicles has been sorta like, meh. But Citi Bike spokesperson Dani Simons tells the Post, "In general, the bikes are locked in the docks... Nearly all of our bikes are back in our system within 24 hours." It's only the bad bikes that make headlines, of course.
Update: A Citi Bike spokesperson says, "We did not lay off technicians in March." There was, however, some seasonal downsizing leading up to winter. Citi Bike refuses to disclose the current rate of repairs to vandalized Citi Bikes.