Bike share finally opened for business in New York City on Monday, and members had taken more than 6,000 trips before the end of the afternoon.
Long-awaited and oft-delayed, Citi Bike has been mostly well-received so far, despite an early problem delivering key fobs to annual members on time.
6,000 bikes are available for short-term rental at 330 stations in Manhattan below 59th Street and parts of Brooklyn.
This week, Citi Bike is available only to members with year-long subscriptions. It opens to members with day- and week-long passes Sunday.
In a short review, Felix Salmon had a positive reaction, while noting that the bikes are hard to manoeuvre and have poor brakes: “So far, at least, CitiBiking is just as convenient as I’d hoped: there are stations everywhere, and they all seem to have both bikes and empty parking slots.”
Jake Dobkin at Gothamist gave Citi Bike a positive review as well, concluding that “despite my little gripes above, I would heartily recommend joining this program to all my friends and acquaintances. It’s going to be a life-changer.”
The New York Times surveyed riders, finding mostly good reactions, while noting continued opposition. The program has come under fire from New York residents who regret the loss of parking spaces and potential reduced property values (at a community meeting, someone compared to Bloomberg administration to the Taliban).
In Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill neighbourhood, cartoonist Alex Gruss protested the corporate sponsorship of the program by placing a bike-like wooden sculpture at the rack outside his home, Gothamist reported.
According to Citi Bike, the 6,000 trips on day one averaged about 20 minutes long, the time length the program is meant to encourage. Together, members covered nearly 14,000 miles. One bike has already been stolen.
Citi Bike even landed on the cover of this week’s New Yorker. Artist Marcellus Hall told the magazine, “I’m not one of those hard-core bike freaks; it’s just a good way for me to get around in the city.”
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