Tuesday, 17 September 2013

I love Citi Bikes

Citi Bikes are the New York version of Boris bikes. They are built on the same technology. And they have just celebrated their first 100 days in action.

6,000 bikes are available at about 330 docking stations, at this stage a little smaller than our scheme here in London. But expansion is planned.

Hire bikes in New York - look familiar?
The scheme has already been hailed a success. The pricing structure makes annual membership far more cost-effective than in London, so there is more incentive to become a member and use the bikes often. And if you want proof of their appeal, just look at the stats. With many days way beyond 30,000 journeys and some over 40k, the daily hire per bike is higher than in London.

Why this runaway success? Better bike lanes in New York? Less people with their own bike so needing to hire one? Probably both true. But also I think the Citi Bike people are more engaged and proactive in marketing than TfL have been. The scheme has its own dedicated website - Boris bikes just get a small corner of the TfL one. The scheme even has its own official blog. Impressive. Then there are member meetings and bike classes. The scheme is already harnessing the user community to spread its success, and actively encouraging new riders to join.

TfL should take note. As phase 3, the southwestern extension, gets ever nearer, could more be done to build a committed community of Boris bikers to rival our Citi biking friends over the pond, and spread the love of Boris bikes to even more Londoners?

UPDATE - another good article analysing the Citi Bike scheme and its early success