Citi Bike is having a rough time right now—here's why

The bike-share program is broke and falling apart; some people want to boycott it, and De Blasio won’t bail it out

Citi Bike

Citi Bike Photograph: Lars Klove/New York City Bicycle Share

It's been tough times for Citi Bike lately. The bike-share program is seriously strapped for cash; its operating company, Alta Bike Share, needs $14 million to stay afloat. Though sales of annual memberships have been strong, the rental service is struggling to sell daily passes to tourists and other short-term users. Of course, the polar-vortex-ridden winter hasn't helped to encourage cycling either. Alta is seeking funds from private sources, and they also asked the Department of Transportation (DOT) for permission to raise rates.

But that's not all—due to these financial troubles, the bulky blue bikes aren't in the best shape. Operational issues include broken docking stations, glitchy credit-card transactions and problems redistributing the bikes to accommodate ridership needs. An editorial in the Daily News today suggests that annual members boycott Citi Bike, which launched ten months ago, when their renewal comes up.

If you thought the city would help out the bike program, a DOT pet project, think again; De Blasio said that public dollars won't go toward alleviating Alta's debt. He has, however, said his administration would help the rental agent find a solution to better manage Citi Bike. Here's hoping things get sorted out before warm weather hits.

(h/t The Wall Street Journal)

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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)

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