New Yorkers are weighing in on the problems facing the struggling Citi Bike program after its general manager announced Wednesday he is stepping down. NY1's Rocco Vertuccio filed the following report.
Ever since it launched last May, thousands of Citi Bikes have weaved their way into the fabric of the city -- at least where you can get them. Right now that's only in Manhattan below 59th Street and parts of Brooklyn.
But despite some rave reviews, Citi Bike has hit bumps in the road. Among them, bikes that can't be removed from their docks, or finding no bikes or docks where riders want them.
"Couple times it gets stuck or there isn't enough in a certain area," said one Citi Bike user.
"Sometimes there isn't space to park. Sometimes the bikes are all gone," noted another Citi Bike user.
And now it seems there are money problems, too. Published reports say the program needs tens of millions of dollars to keep running.
Justin Ginsburgh, who oversaw the launch and expansion of Citi Bike last year, announced on Wednesday he is leaving to work for a construction management firm.
His replacement, Eddie Inlow, currently oversees a similar bike share program in Chicago.
The company that runs Citi Bike, Alta Bicycle Share, had hoped enough tourists would pay $9.95 a day to subsidize the $95 a year paid by 100,000 annual members, most of them New Yorkers. But that hasn't happened. The cold winter may have kept some away.
"In the fall when the weather was nicer I would see people from other countries," said one Citi Bike user.
Now there's talk of raising the annual membership fee to around $140, which is getting mixed reaction.
"I absolutely think for the people who use it, I think they can bear a nominal raise," said one Citi Bike user.
"Bringing up the price wouldn't be the smartest choice because you might lose people," noted another Citi Bike user.
Some riders say expanding the program to more locations might generate more revenue. But adding other parts of the city appears to be on hold for now.
Mayor Bill de Blasio says he supports the program but using taxpayer money is not an option.