Citi Bike: System improvements and expansion coming in 2015

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This morning, an email from the new CEO of Citi Bike Jay Walder, landed in my inbox. The email announced their plans on improving the Citi Bike service in 2015.

I don’t have many complaints from my first year in the program. I love Citi Bike; it was a smooth ride save for one system glitch.

That said, there could be a few things that could stand being updated, but I didn’t consider any of them urgent. If I were to complain about the system — it would be the availability of bikes (both renting and docking) in the East Village. Outside of that, I don’t have many issues with Citi Bike.

Bike availability was the first thing that Walder addressed in his four point email:

1) Starting immediately you’ll have real-time, accurate information, on the Citi Bike app and our website. And our team will have the information they need to keep the system running smoothly

Great. Accurate information that can be accessed immediately never hurt anyone. But he didn’t stop there, Citi Bike plans on upgrading and improving the system “throughout the spring and be complete by summer:”

2) Our stations will be more user friendly and reliable
New technology means stations have greater uptime. New kiosk screens will be more intuitive and ride codes will be more reliable for casual users. Key dispensers allow you to sign up and ride on the same day

I’ve always complained about bike share technology — not just New York’s. Hopefully the new technology will be much more intuitive. I wish the key dispenser existed when I signed up. I was miffed that after I applied and paid that I had to wait for my key to be distributed via snail mail. That was silly waiting 7-10 business days.

3) All 6000 bikes will be overhauled and we’ll keep them in good condition

Great. When the first phase of bikes got new seats, I never sat on any of the older bikes with their torn and weather worn seats.

4) It will be simple and stress-free to return a bike
We’re adding more valets at busiest stations
We’re changing the hardware at each of our 12,000 docking points to make them work better
We’ll send you an email to confirm your trip is closed

Love that busier stations will get more attention, but Citi Bike should find a different term other than “valet”. Not a fan of what is associated with that word. These are just improving the current system to get it running more smoothly. Walder had this to say about Citi Bike expansion, particularly into the outer boroughs:

System expansion is being readied as we speak and will begin later this year. We’ll start in Bed-Stuy, Williamsburg and Greenpoint and Long Island City will host the first bikes in Queens. We are already working with the community to plan expansion for the Upper East and Upper West Side. And by 2017 we will bring Citi Bike to neighborhoods including Harlem, Red Hook, Astoria and beyond.

I am excited for the improvements (and expansion) of the service I already love — even at the new $150 price point.

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