Bloomberg: Citi Bike Software Not Ready for Prime Time Yet

The hold-up with NYC’s bike-share launch is technical, not political. Mayor Bloomberg revealed this afternoon that Citi Bike is behind schedule because of kinks in the system’s software that are still being worked out.

The Public Bike System Company, which produces the kiosks and bikes for NYC’s system, recently switched software providers, claiming that its former provider was overbilling. The new software apparently isn’t ready to be deployed.

The Times’ Thomas Kaplan relays Bloomberg’s take on the problem, which he shared with reporters at an unrelated press event this afternoon:

“The only thing about a delay — if it turns out that there is one — is that people won’t be able to use something that we think will be phenomenally popular. But until we get it working perfectly, have these private companies do it to our satisfaction, we’re just not going to put it out.”

The mayor also seemed amused by the consternation over the program’s start date.

“What’s fascinating,” he said, “is there was a lot of screaming, ‘We don’t want bikes,’ and now everybody’s screaming, ‘We want ’em now.’”

  • There certainly have been hints about issues with the launch of BikeShare in the past few weeks. One might’ve thought May, Bike Month, would’ve been the ideal time to start Bike Share with several warm summer months to build momentum. Getting involved in a lawsuit with the software developer wouldn’t seem like the best way to begin such a large scale venture. 

    A few weeks ago when I stopped by a demo representatives were collecting email addresses rather than selling memberships as we might expect if the program was really expected to launch in the next few weeks. Representatives were definitely vague about the launch date and dispite giving my email address I haven’t received any updates since.Let’s hope they these issues resolved and get this BikeShare rolling before the weather turns cold. Bloomberg’s right about one thing: We want ’em NOW!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    One thing that’s almost always true about software development projects is that they take longer than planned!

  • Ben Kintisch

    Stacy,
    I had a similar experience at the Bike Share demo in Bed-Stuy. I chatted up the Alta bike reps, and they seemed like nice young people, but had no solid information about the roll out. I also put down my email address to keep me in the loop and I’ve received no message.
    I still maintain that this system will be so incredibly popular that a rapid expansion will be needed much sooner than originally planned.  
    I am, too, disappointed about the delay. Just the other day was a pefect bike-share errand day, when I felt like, “Man! I wish bike share was here already!” Let’s hope that they iron out the wrinkles soon and we can hop on those very nice blue bikes.

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