Citi Bike Hit Two Million Trips on Sunday (That’s a Lot)

In case you missed it, Citi Bike had its two-millionth trip on Sunday, 76 days after the system went live.

Citi Bike continues to rack up phenomenal numbers for a program that’s just out of the gate. London bike-share had 810,000 trips in June, and just under 999,000 in July — roughly the same number of trips as NYC during that period, though Barclays Cycle Hire has about 2,000 more bikes than Citi Bike.

On August 6, Citi Bike riders took over 42,000 daily trips for the first time, an average of seven trips per bike. London has never topped six trips per bike per day, and Velib averages about five trips per bike.

The Times reported today how Citi Bike is working to keep up with demand. NYPD’s ham-fisted approach to “bike enforcement” be damned.

  • The New York Times article says it can take 45 minutes to load bikes into a box truck. The photo shows a Citibike staffer using the box truck’s lift which takes a significant part of the 45 minutes. Chicago’s Divvy uses Sprinter vans and a U-Haul-style ramp to load bikes. The Sprinter vans hold 22 bicycles.

  • Liam

    Citi Bike also uses sprinter vans.

  • Cris Vail

    At Grand and Greene today, only one dock was available and it would not take the bike. Called Citibike, and was told I had to take the bike to another dock, that they had changed the policy two weeks ago whereby a user would be logged off his bike and a technician sent to fix the problem. I was directed to the dock at Lispenard. One spot available there and again it would not accept the bike. Had to go to a 3rd spot (Spring and Mercer) before I could return the bike.

  • Daphna

    I hope the bike usage numbers continue to grow. I hope bikeshare is expanded soon since it is overwhelmingly popular. It would be great if eventually cyclists have the same strength in numbers that pedestrians have so that the NYPD has to give up their harassment ticketing of cyclists that does nothing for the safety of any road user. An NYPD crackdown on pedestrians crossing against the light would result in immediate outcry and curtailing of such NYPD ticketing almost immediately. Cycling needs to grow big enough to have the same treatment.

  • JK

    Is Citibike regularly putting more bikes and docks on the street to get to the 7,000 announced for Phase 1? When is that 7000 number going to be attained? Do new Citibikes just magically materialize or is there a schedule somewhere? Fabulous as it is, this program could do with some transparency. It’s a public private partnership using public streets and spaces. How about the Citibike or DOT sites provide some solid, timely info.

  • s

    If they fixed the app, I think it would buy them a little more goodwill. I don’t mind full or empty stations, but it sucks to look up a station, see that it has five available docks only to get there to find that the app was totally wrong and it’s full.

  • s

    If they fixed the app, I think it would buy them a little more goodwill. I don’t mind full or empty stations, but it sucks to look up a station, see that it has five available docks only to get there to find that the app was totally wrong and it’s full.

  • carma

    You know the program is successful when the complaints are not about “i lost parking spaces” but about “when is the next phase so it can come to my neighborhood”
    70000 annual members is not a small number to not take seriously

  • Ray Kelly

    Pedestrian strength in numbers?! I assume you mean rich, white pedestrians.

  • Anonymous

    Except for the first week, I was unable to get a bike in Midtown even once when I needed it. The stations are always empty. We need more bikes, but where will they find space for them?

  • Joe

    It looks to me like Citibike will need to implement some sort of congestion pricing / incentive scheme in order to remain effective. It won’t be possible to install enough racks, or add enough bikes, or add enough re-balancers to keep up with the demand. Just like making cheap or free roads wider only increases traffic, adding more racks or bikes will only increase demand and leave more racks all full or all empty, eventually destroying the system’s utility.

    Some possibilities for such a scheme could include:

    Congestion Pricing:
    – Taking a bike from a high-demand rack at a high-demand time incurs an extra charge, say $1.
    – Returning a bike to a high-receipt rack at a high-receipt return time incurs a similar charge.

    Congestion incentives:
    – Return a bike to a high-demand rack at a high demand time to receive a credit, say $1.
    -Take a bike from a high-receipt rack at a high-receipt time to receive a similar charge.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe food delivery people can be enticed to take advantage of “reverse demand” routes, and be hired by CitiBike:
    1. Bikes seem to go one way – from point A to point B.
    2. Delivery person (with free or subsidized membership) gets a text page: “Need to get bikes from B to A”
    3. Delivery person only gets tip for speedy delivery of food, not so much for speedy return to the restaurant. So it’s good to have a one-way bike sometimes.
    4. Delivery person gets a credit of a couple bucks from CitiBike to ride bike from B to A. He/she also gets tip for fast delivery of food. Win-win!
    5. Delivery person needs to charge battery of electric bike anyway 🙂

  • Ian Turner

    That could work. Take whatever the cost of re-balancing is and divide by two. Then charge or rebate that amount for taking (returning) at a dock 90%) filled.

  • Ian Turner

    Delivery person gets paid for deliveries per hour, so they do need to return quickly.

  • Ian Turner

    Although you couldn’t apply the charges to existing members, you’d have to wait for renewals. Rebates could go in straight away.

    I think the rebates should not be redeemable for cash, though, or else you might end up with a fraud scheme where people purposely empty docks so they can make money by “re-balancing” them.

  • Driver

    And while they are delivering one set of orders, the next set of orders
    is being prepared for delivery. The business owner probably wants those
    orders sent out quickly and need the delivery people back asap to do so.

  • Joe R.

    I think in principal this is a good idea, but you’re using the wrong group to do the rebalancing. I wonder if it would be possible to have display screens on bike stations which indicate that bikes need to be moved to such and such a location. Passers-by who might be going that way could get a free trip, provided they docked at the station which needed bikes. This could even appeal to people like me who might just be walking around Manhattan, going no place in particular. Since I would be taking the subway home regardless, I’d be willing to help rebalance stations. Chances are good any station I ride to won’t be terribly inconvenient to catch the subway from. Certainly it’s worth a try.

  • fdr

    I see plenty of bikes mid-day at the bike stations that ironically are closest to DOT HQ, on Broad Street and on Old Slip.

  • John Rowland

    Really wanted to love citibike because I believe it’s a great concept. But my experience with it was HORRIBLE. 30 minutes?! Really?! We were visiting NYC, and had a very limited time, so we thought citibike would be a great way to cover more ground at Central Park. Our first problem came with trying to unlock a bike. The instructions were quite simple. However, executing the instructions was another matter. Trying to get the card to swipe was extremely difficult. Then getting the bike to actually unlock also proved extremely problematic. Once we were on the bikes, we were really enjoying the park, but were coming up on the ridiculously short 30 minute limit. We looked at the map, and it turns out the only stations are on the south end of the park, so we were screwed and went over the limit. In hindsight, I wish I would have just rented from any of the other numerous bike rental vendors at the south entrance of the park.

    We had a 24 hour pass, so we wanted to use the bikes again the next day to save time and ride over the Brooklyn Bridge. Station by the bridge was broken. We met a local who was very frustrated because she was at the end of her 30 MINUTE time limit, and couldn’t check her bike in. We went to another station – also broken. We went to a 3rd station, also broken! Finally gave up. Citibike has A LOT of work to do on this system. I hope they get it fixed.

  • Your experience regarding the time limit was very much by design. If you want a joy ride around Central Park, there are plenty of rental bikes available with much more tourist-friendly terms. Citi-bike is meant for transportation.

  • Andrew

    I agree with you. But why, then, do annual members get 50% more time, and lower overage fees?

  • Ian Turner

    On the quite reasonable assumption that annual members are less interested in a joy ride and more interested in transportation.

  • Andrew

    I’m not sure how that answers the question. If 30 minutes is an appropriate line between transportation and a joy ride, set the limit at 30 minutes. If 45 minutes is an appropriate line, set the limit at 45 minutes.

    I ask because Citibike could, if it were set up properly, be a nice entry point for non-cyclists into the world of cycling, but the way it’s set up, it quite specifically discourages that sort of trial use. Non-cyclists presumably take a bit longer to get started and to get from place to place (and perhaps even fall down from time to time), and irregular Citibike users aren’t accustomed to the quirks of the system that I’ve been reading about daily for the past two months – so it seems to me that irregular users should get the same time limit as annual members, or arguably even a bit more.

    This isn’t a hypothetical issue. I’m one of those non-cyclists. I’m curious, but not curious enough to pay one-tenth the cost of an annual membership in order to be subject to a high likelihood of overage fees. Charge me $1 for a single trip or a few dollars for a daily pass, and subject me to the same overage policies as everybody else, and I just might give it a shot.

  • I agree that as the system is set up, it doesn’t exactly encourage new or curious cyclists such as yourself. Unfortunately, the design of the system is meant to discourage tourists from relying on citi-bike. The extra 15 minutes and lower overage fees for annual members are likely just a bonus for the annual members. The onerous terms for short-term rentals are designed to preserve NYC’s active and thriving rental bike industry.

    Perhaps there should be more trial opportunities for people such as yourself. Maybe if you prove you live or work in the coverage area, you could get a discounted weekly pass exactly one time.

  • Anonymous

    You’re right. That’s also the headquarters for Standard and Poor’s, DTCC, and a block from tens of thousands of workers. Not so ironic if you play “look at the whole picture.”



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As policy director at the New York City Department of Transportation from 2007 to June, 2014, Jon Orcutt shepherded the nation’s largest bike-share system through the earliest stages of planning, a wide-ranging public engagement process, and, last year, the rollout of hundreds of Citi Bike stations. That makes Orcutt, formerly of Transportation Alternatives and the Tri-State Transportation […]