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Citi Bike Service Deteriorates Under Lyft’s Management, Says NYC Comptroller

Amid the bustling streets of New York City, the reliability of the iconic Citi Bike service has come under scrutiny, prompting City Comptroller Brad Lander to call for a major revamp of the bike-share program’s contract. ( 📈 Virginia experiencing statewide outbreak of serious meningococcal disease: Officials ) A recent evaluation by Lander’s office uncovered a concerning decline in the service’s dependability since Lyft took charge in 2018, raising significant alarms. Despite Citi Bike’s growth as a crucial part of the city’s transportation network, the report reveals a surge in unusable stations and broken bikes, particularly plaguing low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. The findings indicate a stark contrast to the promised benefits of Lyft’s takeover.

The extensive review, utilizing publicly available data and Citi Bike’s monthly reports, underscores a troubling trend: while the bikeshare program expanded its network and ridership post-Lyft, maintenance standards plummeted. Rebalancing moves, crucial for optimal bike and dock availability, saw an alarming 80% drop between 2014 and 2022, resulting in subpar service quality. (gothamist.com) (pledge.wnyc.org) (gothamist.com) The repercussions were most pronounced in the outer reaches of the Citi Bike system, disproportionately affecting low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.

Communities in Sunset Park, Red Hook, Kensington, Fordham Heights, Morris Heights, and University Heights experienced more than 20% unusable stations during peak hours in June and July 2023. (gothamist.com) Shockingly, riders in the Bronx were 89% more likely to encounter an unusable station than their counterparts in other boroughs. (nyc.streetsblog.org) This echoes a 2019 study, revealing Citi Bike’s neglect of low-income and minority communities. Despite Lyft’s promises of equitable expansion, Lander’s report suggests a persistent disparity in service quality.

As Citi Bike looks to the future with plans to double its electric bikes and reduce the speed of its second-generation e-bikes, Lander contends that the city’s Department of Transportation has fallen short in enforcing performance standards outlined in the contract. ( 📺 A man said he found a bag containing nearly $5,000 in a parking lot. He kept it, and 3 months later got charged with larceny. ) The report estimates millions in uncollected fines against Lyft, underscoring a failure in accountability. Lander emphasizes the urgent need for a new contract with Lyft, one that includes neighborhood-specific performance requirements, robust enforcement mechanisms, and financial incentives for service improvement. ( 📄 Justice Clarence Thomas Discloses Trips Paid for by GOP Donor )

“The City should overhaul the contract with more strategic performance standards and the oversight and incentives to achieve them,” Lander asserts. His proposed changes aim not only to address the persistent issues but to secure Citi Bike’s future as an essential and equitable component of New York City’s transportation network. As the cityscape navigates these challenges, the fate of Citi Bike hangs in the balance, impacting New Yorkers’ daily lives and underscoring broader issues of accessibility and equality in urban transportation. (gothamist.com)