At 2:30 AM in the morning, I received the “OH CRAP” automated email from Citi Bike customer service telling you that something is amiss. You may have seen this subject line: Looks like you’ve had that Citi Bike out for a while…
For the 99% of you that receive this email, it’s probably because you didn’t return the bike correctly and not because you’re Thelma and Louise-ing freely around the Tri-State area.
The email I received stated that the bike I rented out at the Broadway & East 14 St. station on September 6th at 10:30 at night had not been seen by the Citi Bike system in four hours and any time above my 45 minute time limit allotted to my annual membership were being charged to my account.
The Citi Bike bike rented with your with your key (member ########) on 2015-09-06 at 22:31:06 at station Broadway & E 14 St has not been seen by the system in the last 4 hours. Usage fees are still being charged to your account.
The bike in question was returned, I am certain of it. I’m so sure because my boyfriend and I both rented a bike at the same Union Square station at the same time and both returned our bikes less than 15 minutes later at the Avenue A and East 10th St. station in the East Village.
I specifically remember the light flashing green because I playfully intercepted the dock my boyfriend had intended to use, so I wanted to be sure that I not only got the dock, but it was a working one where it displayed the green light indicating a successful return. Still,
Waking up to this message early in the morning had me recalling when and where and what exactly occurred (and how much I put down on a deposit). I logged into my account to find no “END” information showing that my bike was returned. In fact, my account didn’t display “END” information since September 2nd.
When my boyfriend woke up, he found that he had the same email in his inbox. I know my memory falters, but Kyle’s pretty OCD about these things, so believe it or not, that was a relief to know that he also got the same message. There’s no way two Citi Bike veterans both messed up docking our bikes — right?
Despite the two warning message, I successfully rented out another bike around 10 AM the following morning. And 18 hours later, there are no charges posted to my account. All this conflicting information makes it sound as if there was a system malfunction with that specific docking station, or perhaps a wider issue.
Nothing could be found on their blog or on their Facebook page about any system problems, so I sent a message to Citi Bike’s customer service email: email@example.com. I wanted to confirm a problem with their system last night or if it was more of an isolated incident. I’ll update this post when I receive a reply.
[UPDATED] Here is Citi Bike’s reply:
Dear Stuart, Thank you for writing. This was most likely the result of a dock communication issue. The bike has been located in our system and there is no fee associated with this trip. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance to you. –Anne S
Did any of you Citi Bike users receive the same “Looks like you’ve had that Citi Bike out for a while…” message last night?