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My Experience with the Citi Bike Technology

Citi Bike-related art at the corner of Lafayette and Spring.

On July 4th I gave the Citi Bike program a try and found the technology somewhat frustrating.

The actual riding was fun. Yes, I did have a helmet, and no, there wasn’t much traffic so it wasn’t the true NYC biking experience where you take your life into your hands.

However I had 3 distinct problems with the technology:

1. I did the $10 day pass, so I had to use the machine to swipe my card. However the keypad wasn’t fully working, so I couldn’t put in my zip code, phone number, or other information. (It still allowed me to rent a bike though.)

2. The machine gave me my code to unlock a bike, and I went directly over to a bike to try to unlock it. No luck. In fact I couldn’t unlock any of the 6 bikes at the rack. So I had to call customer support, who told me too much time had elapsed and I needed to go back to the machine and get a new code. Also, they had trouble looking me up because my phone number hadn’t been entered (see #1 above).

3. When I arrived at my location, there was one slot to dock the bike. However I couldn’t get the bike to dock. After 10 minutes of trying, knowing my 30-minute time limit was approaching, I called customer service again. They told me just to leave the bike and one of their agents would go and handle the problem. Every bike has a chip in it, so they said they could track it if it got stolen.

If I have to do all this every time I want to use a Citi Bike, it’s faster to take the subway!

Looking forward to when they have the glitches ironed out…

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