If all had gone according to plan, the city in partnership with Citibank would have launched 10,000 bikes for rent in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Long Island City. However, the Department of Transportation now says the bikes won't launch until March 2013.
The new agreement will provide 7,000 bikes in the three boroughs next year. The timeline does not affect the Citi Bike sponsorship, which uses $41 million in private funding from Citi to underwrite the system for five years and ensures that New York City Bike Share will split profits with the city.
“New York City demands a world-class bike share system, and we need to ensure that Citi Bike launches as flawlessly as New Yorkers expect on Day One,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.
Mayor Bloomberg said Friday on his radio show that software problems are to blame for the delay.
“The software doesn’t work,” the mayor said..” Duh. Until it works, we’re not going to put it out.”
Between now and the new launch date, NYCBS will continue working on the high-performance software necessary to operate the new system, which is being tailored for New York City. The system uses new solar power arrays and circuit boards, and engineers will continue to thoroughly test data communications, power management and payment systems to ensure overall system performance. Following the March launch the program is planned to be expanded to 10,000 bikes.
“While we are eager for Citi Bike to begin, it’s more crucial that this ground-breaking transit system be launched correctly, not quickly," Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White said. "In time, the circumstances of Citi Bike’s launch will be all but forgotten and we’ll all be enjoying a city made safer, healthier and less congested.”
Participants will pay $95 a year to join the program, which will give them unlimited use of the bicycles for rides of up to 45 minutes. Members using them for a longer time will pay graduated fees to do so. Daily and weekly memberships will also be available. Participants have to be at least 16 years old. They will borrow the bicycles from and return them to stations that will be installed throughout LIC, Brooklyn and Manhattan.