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Read, NYC Commuters!

Old 05-27-12, 08:59 PM
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apanos7
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Read, NYC Commuters!

Please go to the following website to read about NYC's new "Citi Bike" program, starting this summer:

https://citibikenyc.com/home

What are your thoughts? Will this be a good or bad thing? This is what I'm thinking so far:

Pros: Will increase interest in biking for transport, will press the city to improve its bike system, may possibly draw law enforcement's eyes to the horrendous bicycle thievery here???

Cons: Newbie bikers on NYC's current bike system can be dangerous (and inconvenient to experienced cyclists), I'm sure someone will figure out a way to steal these bikes or get rides for free, and the bikes look like they are big and heavy (NYC has many tight spaces requiring speed and agility...plus many commuters have to traverse bridges to get to their destinations).

I'm interested to hear what others think?
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Old 05-27-12, 09:32 PM
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I don't think it will help with bicycle theft at all. Most people steal your bike, are out to sell it, not ride it.
Police are not there to prevent crime, they are there to take a report afterwards. You guys should either move away from NY or be able to get your CHL's to reduce the theft.
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Old 05-27-12, 09:39 PM
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The station map makes it look like they are doing the set up right. Lots of stations, well distributed.
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Old 05-27-12, 09:58 PM
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We've had the same bikes in Minneapolis since 2010. Theft is not a problem. You can't get them out of their stations without damaging them. Besides, who's a bike thief going to sell one of them to?

I figured vandalism would be a bigger problem but so far it hasn't been.

They are heavy but 1st gear is low enough to get them over bridge without too much trouble.

My guess is that newbies would stay out of the places where extreme speed and agility are required.
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Old 05-27-12, 09:58 PM
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That's crazy..... I glad I don't live there.... That's $100 a month. I would buy a folding bike with shoulder straps.... put it on my back. who going to steal it?
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Old 05-27-12, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
The station map makes it look like they are doing the set up right. Lots of stations, well distributed.
But just like the bike share thing in San Francisco, it only covers a small part of the city.

One thing I see that kinda sucks is that there isn't a less expensive option, say if you want to make a quick 30 min trip or something and do not need to use the bike for 24 hours. I suppse if one were to do that a lot though, the annual membership is where it becomes useful.

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Old 05-27-12, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by kardar2 View Post
That's crazy..... I glad I don't live there.... That's $100 a month. I would buy a folding bike with shoulder straps.... put it on my back. who going to steal it?
It is $100/ year. A $60/year membership is available for low-income users.

Last edited by jsdavis; 05-27-12 at 10:07 PM.
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Old 05-27-12, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by kardar2 View Post
That's crazy..... I glad I don't live there.... That's $100 a month. I would buy a folding bike with shoulder straps.... put it on my back. who going to steal it?
Actually they have a 1 year pass thats only $95, but the catch is that each ride has to be under 45minutes or you will get "overtime" fees.
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Old 05-27-12, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
We've had the same bikes in Minneapolis since 2010. Theft is not a problem. You can't get them out of their stations without damaging them. Besides, who's a bike thief going to sell one of them to?

I figured vandalism would be a bigger problem but so far it hasn't been.

They are heavy but 1st gear is low enough to get them over bridge without too much trouble.

My guess is that newbies would stay out of the places where extreme speed and agility are required.
Bike thieves don't pawn them off, at least not anymore. They take them to a scrap metal yards and sell the metal.
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Old 05-27-12, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by ben4345 View Post
Bike thieves don't pawn them off, at least not anymore. They take them to a scrap metal yards and sell the metal.
I think a scrap metal yard would start asking some questions if somebody were to show up with one of those.
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Old 05-27-12, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by apanos7 View Post
Actually they have a 1 year pass thats only $95, but the catch is that each ride has to be under 45minutes or you will get "overtime" fees.
The idea is to ride from station to station. You can take out another bike immediately if you haven't made it to your final destination without any additional charges. This is why the bikes tend not to get stolen because they spend the vast majority of the time that they're not being ridden at one of the stations.

This only works well if there are enough stations around and that they're located where people want to go.

45 minutes is about all you're going to want to spend on those bikes at one shot anyway. They're not long distance machines and the only size adjustment is seat height.

So you can ride all day for $10 but only in 45 minute segments. So if you want to grab a bite to eat and then do some shopping in another part of the city, you don't lock the bike up outside the restaurant. You find a nearby station and park the bike there. When you're done eating, you grab another bike, or the same one if it's still there.

Last edited by tjspiel; 05-27-12 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 05-27-12, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
I think a scrap metal yard would start asking some questions if somebody were to show up with one of those.


Rightly so, though that won't stop thieves from trying, just like the dirtbags that stole dozens of bronze vases from a local cemetery, and tried to turn them in for scrap, after there was a well publicized media blitz about the theft.
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Old 05-27-12, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
I think a scrap metal yard would start asking some questions if somebody were to show up with one of those.
Have you ever been to one?
Some of them just weigh your vehicle coming in, tell you about where to dump and weigh you on your way out and pay you for the weight difference. They are very big and there isn't a real way to monitor the entire sight.

Also, I never said the thieves would steal those bikes instead of yours.
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Old 05-28-12, 05:36 AM
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I don't know. I'll hold my judgement. It's really difficult to tell if this pricing scheme will attract people. Some bikes will definitely get vandalized by idiots too. What I'm really afraid of is that the bike lines will become even more unsafe with these around. People will be wobbling about at 5mph. The city has the idea that bikes are slow and caters to newbies, recreational riders and slow, short distance commuters who ride within Manhattan only. Serious commuters coming from outside of Manhattan, who would like to go 15mph are left out in the cold. We either risk collisions in the bike lanes, go at 5mph, or risk being hassled by cops if we ride in traffic lanes. Now we'll have even more obstacles to deal with.
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Old 05-28-12, 07:07 AM
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I'm sure there will be issues but I do think it's a step in the right direction.
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Old 05-28-12, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post

So you can ride all day for $10 but only in 45 minute segments. So if you want to grab a bite to eat and then do some shopping in another part of the city, you don't lock the bike up outside the restaurant. You find a nearby station and park the bike there. When you're done eating, you grab another bike, or the same one if it's still there.
The $10 for 24 hours only lets you have the bike for 30 minute at a time.
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Old 05-28-12, 05:51 PM
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I think the pricing is not only too high but too convoluted as well. Is it like that in other cities?
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Old 05-28-12, 05:57 PM
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Did I read the page correctly? There's a $101 hold when you swipe your card for a bike?
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Old 05-28-12, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
I don't know. I'll hold my judgement. It's really difficult to tell if this pricing scheme will attract people. Some bikes will definitely get vandalized by idiots too. What I'm really afraid of is that the bike lines will become even more unsafe with these around. People will be wobbling about at 5mph. The city has the idea that bikes are slow and caters to newbies, recreational riders and slow, short distance commuters who ride within Manhattan only. Serious commuters coming from outside of Manhattan, who would like to go 15mph are left out in the cold. We either risk collisions in the bike lanes, go at 5mph, or risk being hassled by cops if we ride in traffic lanes. Now we'll have even more obstacles to deal with.
those were my fears exactly.
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Old 05-28-12, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
I think the pricing is not only too high but too convoluted as well. Is it like that in other cities?
$100/year for 45 minutes at a time, or $10/day for $25/week for 30 minutes at a time. Seems pretty simple to me...
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Old 05-28-12, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
I think the pricing is not only too high but too convoluted as well. Is it like that in other cities?
It's quite a bit cheaper here in Seville: €27.50 ($34.50) a year; first half hour free, then €0.50 ($0.63) for each half hour after that, but that's easily avoided by just putting the bike back into a station and then checking it out again.

We've had problems with vandalism and theft, but the system has been a huge success overall. It's taken a lot of cars off of the roads at a fraction of what it cost us to build just one underground line.
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Old 05-28-12, 09:09 PM
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I used to ride to work just about every day, but then they took away indoor bike storage at work. I don't like the idea of leaving my bike outside when it rains, so I don't ride in as much any more. Bike share will fix this problem for me. I can take the train in if it's raining, and if it clears up in the afternoon, I bike home.

If I want to buy a banh mi in Chinatown for lunch, I can walk 20 minutes cross town, 20 minutes back, and have maybe 10 minutes to eat my lunch, or I could hop on a bikeshare bike and get there in 10, and have 30 minutes to eat.

$100 bucks sounds expensive, but if you switch to a pay-per-ride metrocard from a monthly unlimited, you'll probably save enough to pay for bikeshare in a few months.

I'm a little bit worried about all the new users on our lanes, but we were all new riders once, and we just have to be patient. I'm looking forward to using bikeshare, and I think just having more people try out riding in New York will make things better for all of us.

See also David Byrne's op-ed piece in the Times this weekend: https://nyti.ms/KtuZMU
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Old 05-28-12, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
I think the pricing is not only too high but too convoluted as well. Is it like that in other cities?
It's a bit cheaper here but the plans are similar. I think it's $65 for an annual membership and $6 or $7 for the day. I don't remember what a monthly membership costs. You do only get the bike for 30 minutes and not 45. Sometimes 30 minutes is a little short. I remember riding to the lakes from downtown and stopping to answer a phone call from my wife. Being a good husband and talking to my wife for 10 minutes cost me $3.00 in overtime charges (or whatever they are).

That particular ride illustrates a problem with the system. "The lakes" refers to a part of the city that has 3 lakes in very close proximity. The whole area is basically a big park with places to rent paddle boats, kayaks, paddle boards, and... bikes.

I'm sure that the existing bike rental places would have raised a huge stink had the city put a few bike stations along the MUPs that surround each of the lakes but it's an obvious place to put them. The closest station to the pavilion at Lake Calhoun is several blocks away. Not exactly convenient when you're riding all the way from downtown and looking for a station where you can drop off the bike. It's a beautiful ride and very doable in the 30 minutes if you know where you're going and your wife doesn't call.

That reminds me. Any of you trying out the system should download an app called "SpotCycle". I'm sure NY's system will be on it. It will show you a map of the stations, where the closest ones are and the number of bikes/empty slots available at whatever station you want to go to. Knowing where the stations are is indispensable.

Last edited by tjspiel; 05-28-12 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 05-29-12, 05:51 AM
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Originally Posted by jsdavis View Post
$100/year for 45 minutes at a time, or $10/day for $25/week for 30 minutes at a time. Seems pretty simple to me...
What if someone wants to ride for an hour? Or what of someone does only 15 minute rides? That gets convoluted. Simplicity is the key to success, IMHO.

I may give it a shot though out of curiosity, there are stations planned next to the 14th Street subway and one right next to where I work. Although non far enough in Queens

Just thought of something: this may allow me to run errands or go somewhere else for lunch other than the few places right next to work. I take my bike up to the office and just don't feel like taking it out during the day (long elevator waits, etc), plus there is the fear of locking up my bike. With two stations literally on the same block I may be going for bike rides during the day and maybe convince some folks at work to join me.

Last edited by AdamDZ; 05-29-12 at 06:22 AM.
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Old 05-29-12, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
That reminds me. Any of you trying out the system should download an app called "SpotCycle". I'm sure NY's system will be on it. It will show you a map of the stations, where the closest ones are and the number of bikes/empty slots available at whatever station you want to go to. Knowing where the stations are is indispensable.
Indeed. I'm reading the FAQs and just found this:

Will there be an app to find Citi Bike stations?

The system comes with a great app, SpotCycle , which provides real-time information on bike and dock availability. NYC City Bike and the City expect that the city’s great developer community will create even more options for the public.

Overall, the more I'm reading about this, the more I'm convinced that it should succeed. The 45 minute limit should not be a big deal if there are enough bikes around to switch to another bike if you're running out of time. It takes me around 40 minutes to ride from home in Maspeth, Queens to 1st Ave and 30th Street. Therefore, I believe that most people will easily get where they want within 45 minutes. There should be stations around the bridges so I could always swap a bike if I feel that I may not get to work in 45 minutes.

But the big question is: will there be enough bikes if this becomes a popular service?

And another: will the service spread out to outer boroughs? Right now the closest station to my home would be nearly two miles away.

This could also be the one thing that will make people look different at bikes and perhaps break the spell cars have on people.

Oh, and will NYPD be required to investigate each and all accidents involving shared bikes? Right now NYPD doesn't investigate accidents involving bikes unless there is death or serious injury involved which is totally bogus and should be changed.
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