Citi Bike Resumes Service After a Day and a Half Out of Commission

This bike-share station in Lower Manhattan is now online. Photo: David Meyer
This bike-share station in Lower Manhattan is now online. Photo: David Meyer

New Yorkers looking to get back in a bike-share saddle were out of luck this morning. After Motivate shut the system down at 11 p.m. Wednesday night in response to heavy snowfall, it was still offline during the a.m. commute today, even though the streets were mostly clear of snow:

Motivate started to reactivate the system this afternoon, with bikes available to be undocked at 250 of its 610 stations (bikes can be docked at all stations).

It’s standard procedure for Citi Bike to halt operations during a winter storm and the ensuing snow clearance. But what’s the protocol for bringing stations back online once the streets are plowed?

Motivate hires contractors to clear snow from stations after a storm. “As you can imagine, digging out on-street stations that in the plow zone after the storm takes time, especially with heavy, wet snow and below-freezing temperatures,” said Motivate spokesperson Dani Simons. “As the system has grown we have worked to be able to meet the growing challenge that snow presents.”

Waiting for stations to get shoveled, though, might be an excess of caution:

Citi Bike will be bringing the rest of its stations online on a rolling basis. You can check the system map to see which stations are operational.

  • Greg Costikyan

    FWIW, the bike share system in Boulder, CO never shuts down for snow. Of course, Boulder also gets a lot of snow and is used to it.

  • Boeings+Bikes

    Disappointed to find most stations around me are still out of service (after 5pm on day 2), though they are totally accessible and streets are wet or slushy at worst. Can’t understand why… it’s not the first or worst snow that we’ve faced with Citibike.

  • Kevin Love

    Meanwhile, in Canada…

    The bike share systems in the Canadian cities of Toronto and Hamilton never shut down. Even when automobiles are banned from the roads during snow emergencies, these Canadian bike-share systems keep going.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Well, there is that lawsuit by the guy who slipped on ice while trying to get a Citibike.

  • nanter

    Are those bike share systems at least partially publicly funded?

    I’d guess that purely financial motives are driving this decision.

  • nanter

    it’s now day 3 and a majority of the stations on the UES are still out of service. What on Earth?

  • Dr. Bones

    The bike lanes were dangerous too. I was on my regular bike yesterday afternoon and 30 percent of the Columbus protected lane was a skating rink of slippery, packed icy snow. Sections of it were blocked by snow. People trying to get to their cars were also slipping on the bike lane.

  • Kevin Love

    Good enough for the likes of us lowly peasants.

  • redbike

    Today (Sat 11 Feb) in Manhattan, I found the 8th Av bike lane north of 14th St clear of snow, but the 5th Av bike lane below 23rd St (merely striped — no physical separation) was unusable because of snow. Leaving that lane unplowed required considerable skill on the part of snow plow drivers.

    Citibikes were out and about. My take: I find the Citibike tires are squirrelly on other than dry pavement, but I’ve seen folks more intrepid than I riding ’em in conditions a whole lot worse than today.

  • Kevin Love

    I don’t see how that works. Shutting down reduces revenue, since new customers are deterred and existing customers incur dissatisfaction. I would imagine that most of their costs are fixed costs. So where is the financial motive? I suspect that the true motivation is management would have to do extra work to figure out how to make the system run in the snow. And if they don’t give a crap about their customers…

  • Vooch

    NYC should have policy in place to ban car storage from avenues & arterials during snow emergencies.

    every other city does

  • Walter Crunch

    Dumbest thing ever to shut it down.

  • Dr. Bones

    I would love to know that the actual policy is on clearing the NYC bike lanes, and making them safe for use. If I send some of my pictures to 311 would that be something that could be acted on?

  • walks bikes drives

    Why doesn’t motivate just put studded tires on the bikes from November to March and just keep it running?

  • Boeings+Bikes

    But correct me if I’m wrong, Montreal’s bike share system is completely un-operational over the winter months. Same in Stockholm and Oslo (and for those cities, “winter” is nearly half the year).

  • Paul Gusmorino

    it is unacceptable that most of the stations are still down. I do not see anyone working on clearing them


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