Citi Bike Launch Pushed Back From July to August

New Yorkers will have to wait a bit longer than anticipated to start riding Citi Bikes. Photo: Noah Kazis

The city’s bike-share system will launch in August, not the previously announced start date of July, according to the Citi Bike Twitter feed.

Two months ago, city officials announced that New Yorkers would be able to start taking trips on the new public bike system by late July. Now bike-share operator Alta is telling prospective bike-share customers that the launch date will come in August.

Confirmation of the delay came over Twitter, where Alta responded to a number of city residents eager to start riding. “Hi David, thanks for your continued support and interest in Citi Bike! Look for the launch in August,” said one tweet last week. “You’ll be able to sign up for memberships next month,” said another. In another sign that the wait for the launch will extend past July, the Citi Bike team has added a set of public demos to its events calendar, with dates through August 1.

New Yorkers will get some advance notice about the impending system launch when Citi Bike stations start to pop up on the streets. Rolling out the system should happen fairly rapidly, since the stations can be quickly installed or uninstalled. The solar-powered, wireless stations don’t need to be connected to the electrical grid, just craned into place, a process that takes about an hour per station. Still, it takes time to install as many stations as Alta will be bringing to NYC. In Boston, Alta took three weeks to reinstall the 600-bike system after it was put away for the winter.

Streetsblog has asked Alta and the Department of Transportation what caused the delay, when bike-share will launch, and how many bikes will be available at the outset.

  • Anonymous

    If I ever find out that this is because of people babbling about “terrorists,” I’m going to be really, really angry.

  • IanM

    Put away for the winter?? Wow, it never occurred to me that they would do that. I guess the scale of New York’s system would make that impossible (thankfully), but it seems a little silly even for Boston, where the winters are not THAT much harsher. I wonder how the cost of moving all those stations compares to the cost of maintaining/repairing them outside through the winter.

  • Argee401

    Will this system also be out away for the winter?

  • @Argee No, the Citi Bike system will be available all year long.

  • Guest

    Remember people, this is a marathon, not a sprint.

  • Hey, who here is going to fess up to not already owning a bike? 

    XD

  • Mike

    Brian: that’s like asking why anyone would ever need to take a taxi if they own a car. I own a bike and will sign up for Citibike as soon as it’s available, because my bike isn’t always where I am.

  • A. Peyser

    I can’t wait for Steve Cuozzo to take credit for this.

  • carma

    i own two bikes and two cars and i still will sign up b/c there are many cases, where i cant take my personal bike.  dont even mention how immovable driving my car into the city would be.

  • IanM

    I think Brian was kidding, but it’s worth pointing out – I do own a bike but would gladly trade in the hassle of locking, storing (in my walkup) and maintaining it for the ability to grab a bikeshare bike from the sidewalk. I’d probably end up biking a lot more with that element of convenience. Aside from the small minority of very avid cyclists, I have to think that there are a LOT of people like me in NYC who would like to use a bike to get around here and there but don’t want to/can’t put up with keeping their own. 

  • This is pretty much the impression I came away with when I stopped by a BikeShare demo in Washington Square a couple weeks ago – that it wouldn’t really begin till August. Has anyone actually seen a CitiBike numbered higher than 00002?

  • @twitter-19831590:disqus I wouldn’t take that as a sign of anything. It could be that the demo bikes are not the same bikes that will go into the system. 

    Anyway, I think that the emphasis on “Bike Number 1” in Citi Bike’s current marketing is misguided, since the whole point of bike share is that bikes number 1 through 10,000 are my own personal “Bike Number 1.”  There’s no specific bike that’s better than the rest – they’re all perfect!

    Good things come to those who wait…

  • Anonymous

    I inquired about the bike share stations listed in this article: 
    http://www.tribecatrib.com/news/2012/july/1316_battery-park-city-authority-chief-opposes-two-bike-share-locations.html

    I heard they were approved and will be installed in early August. 

  • Albert

    This bicycle owner plans to get a bike-share membership just for the occasion when I want to ride to Grand Central, Port Authority or Penn Station for an out-of-town trip without having to lock my bike on the street for several days — an idea that had never occurred to me until I read it in a Streetsblog comment.

  • Jeff

    Count me in as a private bike owner who will be signing up for bike share on day one.  I’m not even sure if I will ever sit upon the saddle of a bike share bike myself, though.  I have been considering purchasing a “guest bike” for when I have friends and family visiting for quite some time now.  Guess what my “guest bike” is going to be come early August!  Even for friends who live here:  How many times have you gone out to dinner or something with a friend, and you show up on your bike, and they show up on foot, and then want to go get a drink at a bar or go visit a friend elsewhere?  “Gee, wouldn’t it be nice, if you, too, had a bike, and we could bike to our second destination together, as opposed to that awkward I’ll-ride-my-bike-you-take-the-train-call-me-when-you-get-there?”  Bam!  Bike share!

  • Wilfried

    I was told by someone at the demo in Tompkins Square Park last week that it would launch “end of summer.” When I asked for specifics, she added, “They don’t tell us much.” She did mention (take it FWIW) that when they start, they’ll put in about 25 station a night. 

    Just speculating, but while surfing around about bike share, I ran into some articles about Chattanooga bike share, such as:

    http://tinyurl.com/7aaro7r 

    “More than three weeks after its launch was foiled by software glitches, it’s still unclear when the bike-sharing system in Chattanooga, Tenn., will start rolling. The situation in Chattanooga is being closely watched as the software in question is to be used in higher-profile systems, like one in New York City.” I’ve also seen reports that BIXI, the vendor of the stations that will come to NYC, is in litigation with its former software vendor. I wonder if this has anything to do with the delay? Chattanooga still hasn’t launched. 

    To answer Brian, I don’t own a bike, as it’s not an option in my fifth floor walkup closet, so I’m waiting for bike share with bated breath.

  • I won’t be signing up for a bike-share membership, since I live outside the service area. In order to use bike share instead of my own bike, I would have to spend $4.50 on subway fare just to get to the service area and back home at night. Plus I already have locks, lights, patch kit and a helmet.

  • Station44025

    By all means sign up for bike share, but I can’t help pointing out that nearly every problem with bike use and ownership mentioned below can be addressed by folding bikes. 😉 I like Strida and Swift for simplicity an convenience. Just sayin…

  • Joe R.

    @4ecd9cf63e2f84c52aff2b48902a4233:disqus I don’t know about you, but from where I stand folding bikes and NYC streets don’t mix. The folding mechanism is at the weakest point on the frame. I’ve already cracked regular frames half a dozen times (and also cracked a front fork) thanks to the “wonderful” condition of our streets. I hate to think how many folding frames I would go through. Yeah, I can see the inconvenience of owning a bike if you live in a tiny Manhattan walkup. For the vast majority of city residents though, that’s not the case.

    Sad to say, but bike share in its current incarnation is just about useless to me. I can’t justify an annual membership when I might actually use the bikes half a dozen times a year. The daily rates are too high also given that subway or walking are viable options for me in the places where bike share bikes will be. Now if stations came to the furthest reaches of Queens and Brooklyn, I could easily see myself using bike share for shopping trips I currently don’t make at all for lack of viable transportation options (i.e. bus service here is indirect/infrequent, distances to these stores are too far to walk, and no bike parking exists in most stores).

  • Songxue123456
  • Songxue123456
  • Yogi

    Vaidila Kungys who was running the bikeshare program for DOT has a direct conflict of interest since in addition to be a NYC full-time employee, Mr. Kungys is also the co-founder and co-owner of the for profit “Ride The City” which promotes bike riding and is placing bikes throughout the city. NYC employees cannot concurrently have private companies that benefit from and have dealings with NYC.  It appears that he has dropped from sight and perhaps this has delayed the rollout.

  • wiscobiker

    Looks like it could be related to new software glitches. Alta’s equipment provider, PBSC, is in a dispute with 8D Technologies, it’s former software provider. PBSC dumped 8D and got a new software provider for the NYC, Chattanoga and Chicago systems. That new software has glitches. And 8D is sueing PBSC. Drama.

    So now there are at least four Alta bikeshare cities contracts/systems that are delayed: Chattanoga, NYC, Chicago, and San Fran.

    From 8D Press Release “In light of the difficulties encountered with PBSC’s new technological solution, as reported in the press, which has delayed the deployment of the Chattanooga bike scheme for an indefinite period of time, and which also raises concerns for the deployments of the next bike schemes in New York and Chicago, 8D believes that it is in the best interest of all parties involved to consider concrete solutions in order to render the BIXI system operational in the short-term.”

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