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CitiBike to Ground Fleet of Pedal Assist Bikes from NYC Streets Due to Rider Complaints

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Citi Bike is a privately owned public bicycle sharing system serving the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn, as well as Jersey City, New Jersey. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Citi Bike says it is taking its fleet of pedal-assist bikes off the streets of New York City after some riders experienced difficulties.

The company posted the announcement on its web site: “Since Citi Bike first deployed pedal-assist bikes last year, riders have taken hundreds of thousands of rides and shared with us incredibly helpful and overwhelmingly positive feedback.

“However, we recently received a small number of reports from riders who experienced stronger than expected braking force on the front wheel. Out of an abundance of caution, we are proactively removing the pedal-assist bikes from service for the time being. We know this is disappointing to the many people who love the current experience — but reliability and safety come first.

“We have been hard at work on a new pedal-assist bike, and are excited to bring that to you soon. The new bike model will be accessible just by scanning a QR code and overall will be more fun to ride. In the meantime, we will quickly replace the pedal-assist bikes with classic pedal bikes.”

Citi Bike is a privately owned public bicycle sharing system serving the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn, as well as Jersey City, New Jersey. Named after lead sponsor Citigroup, it is operated by Motivate (formerly Alta Bicycle Share), with former Metropolitan Transportation Authority CEO Jay Walder as chief executive. The system’s bikes and stations use BIXI-branded technology from PBSC Urban Solutions.

First proposed in 2008 by the New York City Department of Transportation, Citi Bike’s scheduled 2011 opening was delayed by Hurricane Sandy and technological problems. It officially opened in May 2013 with 332 stations and 6,000 bikes. Annual expansions are planned to extend its service area across Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, and increase the number of bikes to 40,000.

Citi Bike announced in November that it would expand its 12,000-bike fleet to 40,000 bikes over the next five years, according to nyc.streetsblog.org. “It is unclear how that expansion is going. No neighborhoods have been named as the lucky recipients of the new e-bikes or “classic” Citi Bikes. Currently, the system operates only in Manhattan below 130th Street, a thin strip of Western Queens and a crescent of Brooklyn from Greenpoint through Downtown to Park Slope.”

The city does not provide any subsidy to Citi Bike, the web site continues, “unlike any other form of public transportation. The system carries far more riders than the mayor’s ferry system, for example, which gets millions in city support. Each ride on an NYC Ferry costs riders $2.75, but costs taxpayers more than $10. On an average day, Citi Bike serves tens of thousands of riders.”

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