Room for Improvement for Citi Bike—But Not Dead Yet

Nancy Scola responds to a recent Wall Street Journal article detailing the ongoing financial troubles of Citi Bike—New York City’s bikeshare program, which is reportedly scrambling for money and operating deeply in the red.

With regard to the financial trouble of Citi Bike, Nancy Scola recommends a little patience before pronouncing the program dead: “the Venn diagram overlap between ‘Citi Bike works’ and ‘it’s not crazy to ride Citi Bike in this weather’ has been awfully small.”

“We’re approaching the time when Citi Bike’s early adopters will decide whether to re-up their memberships, and that renewal rate will be telling…That seems a far truer test of the system’s prospects than these first 10 months have been.”

Scola also makes a fair account of the program’s strengths, (i.e., “Consider how the 10-month-old system has 100,000 annual members…”) and its weaknesses: “[the short-term pass] process introduces tourists to an experience that many visitors to New York are eager to avoid: Standing in the middle of a sidewalk looking intensely foolish.”

The system also has one problem, mentioned by the Wall Street Journal, that stumps Scola as well: how to overcome the close brand association with Citi. “It’s hard to say what the fix is, short of scrapping the program’s identity altogether.”

Full Story: The Death Knelling Over Citi Bike

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