9:39 am Aug. 17, 20121
New York City's bike share program, which was supposed to launch in July, is delayed until spring 2013.
"We're just not gonna launch it until spring," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg during his regular Friday morning radio appearance on the John Gambling Show.
In a release issued shortly after his radio appearance, the Department of Transportation said March 2013 is the new launch date.
The city's Department of Transportation was supposed to start rolling out its bike share program, named Citi Bike, after its sponsor, by the end of July.
But it soon became apparent that the program to place 10,000 shareable bikes in 600 solar-powered stations citywide wasn't going to happen on that timeline.
The city, and Alta Bicycle Share, the operator chosen by the city to run the program, were oddly tight-lipped about the causes for said delays.
The mayor, on his radio show and during press conferences with reporters, consistently referred to problems with the system's software.
He did that yesterday, when he claimed (as it turned out, inaccurately) that "We're getting very close," and he did it again today.
"One of the newspapers keeps writing, 'You're hiding something,'" he said, in apparent reference to this article, but applicable to much of the press coverage.
"The software doesn't work, duh," he continued. "We're not gonna put it out until it does work."
As the mayor pointed out, the bike share program is indeed quite technology reliant. The bike docks have computers in them, the bike stations have to register a lot of different transactions, wirelessly, and the like.
Other cities relying on the same operator have been beset by delays, too.
Here's a release from the administration, issued after the mayor's radio appearance:
NYC DOT, NYC BIKE SHARE ANNOUNCE MARCH 2013 CITI BIKE LAUNCH
System’s first phase will go live with 7,000 bikes at 420 stations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens
The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), bike share operator New York City Bike Share (NYCBS) today announced that the Citi Bike system will launch in March 2013 with an initial phase of 7,000 bikes implemented at 420 stations. The timeline, agreed to by all parties, does not affect the Citi Bike sponsorship structure, which uses $41 million in private funding from Citi to underwrite the system for five years and ensures that NYCBS will split profits with the City.
“New York City demands a world-class bike share system, and we need to ensure that Citi Bike launches as flawlessly as New Yorkers expect on Day One,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “The enthusiasm for this program continues to grow and we look forward to bringing this affordable new transportation option to New Yorkers without cost to taxpayers.”
“NYCBS continues to be committed to bringing the largest and best solar-powered bike share system in the world to New York City,” said Alison Cohen, President. “We recognize that New Yorkers are eagerly anticipating the launch of the bike share system and we will deliver on that promise.”
NYCBS continues work to conclude manufacture and testing of the high-performance software necessary to operate the new system, which is being tailored for New York City. The system uses new solar power arrays and circuit boards, and engineers will continue to thoroughly test data communications, power management and payment systems to ensure overall system performance. Following the March launch, work will continue to expand the system to 10,000 bikes, covering parts of Manhattan and from Long Island City to parts of Brooklyn.
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