Why Can’t Citi Bike Keep its E-Bikes Running?

Citi Bike’s e-bikes are becoming too popular for their own good as Lyft struggles to keep up with maintenance and charging.

1 minute read

August 1, 2023, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Close-up of Citi Bike electric shared bikes parked at a station

Tada Images / Adobe Stock

After describing a frustrating experience with broken e-bikes, John Surico asks in a piece for Curbed, “Why can’t Citi Bike keep its e-bikes running?”

To answer this, Surico first debunks the commonly held belief that non-functioning bike are due to the poor behavior of teen riders. “According to Lyft, vandalism only accounts for a small portion of the issues downing the fleet. Instead, it says it’s the system in place that’s struggling to keep up.” Bikes designed for about 5 rides a day are seeing as many as 15 daily rides, dramatically reducing their lifespan.

Charging also takes bikes out of service and adds hours of travel time for bike mechanics. While Citi Bike has proposed considering charging at stations, “hooking up the stations to energy grids with enough electricity to power multiple bikes at once is complex, requiring city support.”

According to Surico, the company’s recent surge of hiring shows they’re trying to meet the growing demand for Citi Bike. “For now, maintaining the Citi Bike system remains a Herculean logistics game involving an army of hundreds scouring the streets of New York City 24/7 to visit some 1,800 stations.”

Tuesday, July 25, 2023 in Curbed

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