NYC Bike Share Citibike may not be for Tourist

Green Butts team took a break and travelled about 26hrs getting to NEW YORK CITY from Malaysia. We saw the Citibike and could not resist trying these shiny blue bikes out. We see people using them with ease zooming up and down down with blinker lights.

Citibikes parked at docking station

Citibikes parked at docking station

ABOUT THE CITIBIKE
At a glance from the docking station…

  • the bike has Shimano Nexus 3-speed gears on it
  • a front rack for you to put personal belonging ie bag but not drinks / bottles because its not a basket
  • the bikes have fenders and self-powered lights
  • each bike has a serial number on the chain guard
  • and its heavy

    Payment machine with instructions and credit card slot

    Payment machine with instructions and credit card slot

HOW DOES IT WORK? WHAT DO I DO??
I’ll only explain it to you like a tourist for a tourist. I wont go into details on how it works for long term usage.

  • You need a credit card. a 24hr day pass is USD9.95+tax
  • When you insert your card into slot, the machine will take a security deposit of USD101 from your card. Each card can rent up to 2 bikes at one go
  • After transaction is approved, you will be give a 5 digit code to key onto the docking stations to get the bike out. The code last only 5 mins.
  • Pick the bike you want. There are 3 LED lights (red, orange & green) next to the keypad on the left side of the docking station.
  • Key in the 5-digit code. The orange light will lit up. IMPORTANT TIP! WAIT TILL THE LED turns to GREEN only can you lift the bike out from the dock. DO NOT TOUCH / MOVE the bike when the light is still orange. No one told us you can’t touch / move the bike when its orange. Because once you do that, the magnet between the dock and bike is so SENSITIVE that the LED will turn to RED meaning the bike cannot be taken out. If the light goes red, you have to go back to the machine, slot in your card again (but wont be charge again) and re-issue another code.
  • You are also allowed to ride the bike for only 30mins. If you ride it for more than 30mins, you will be charge an additional overtime of USD 4 for 30mins and the price goes further up after that.
  • After 30mins, you park your bike on back on a diff venue. To get the bike out again, you gotta wait a few minutes for the system to register that you have returned a bike, then only can you slot in your card, reissue another code and take another bike out. You will not be charged again to use the bike as you have already bought the 24-hr pass. You will only be charged if there is an overtime.
  • citibike3

TROUBLESOME
As a tourist, the Citibike may not be for us for obvious reasons. We got so frustrated trying to get the bike out because no one told us to wait for the green light. It took us a while to figure that out and had to call the customer support twice. Good thing we bought a pre-paid phone card. Next, the 30min riding window is too short. Being tourist, we took about 10mins to figure out route, 10mins to ride and another 10mins to find our next docking station!

There’s no timer on the bike too. You have to constantly check your watch.

Reckon this bike share is great for New Yorkers who wants to travel somewhere near fast without walking or the hassle of going to the sub. I think they impose the 30min ride simply because during peak hours, the docks can be empty and they want the bikes to be returned fast. We think 30mins is way too short, it should be at least 45min to an hour. Even for local commuters.

Frusted tourist

Frusted tourist

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