Struggling Citi Bike grasps for ‘real New Yorker’ cred, blames tourists cash problems

citi bike
We might not like the whole rolling ad thing, but we can get behind blaming tourists for things. Photo by Mary Dorn

As we all know, Citi Bike is going through a bit of a financial crunch already, to the point where they might have to raise prices. Of course, no matter what the problem is with the bike share service, it’s not going to help them to do something like blame New Yorkers for not using it, so they’re doing the same thing that everyone in New York does: claiming that tourists are ruining everything, by not using the bikes in this case. Probably because they’re being hefty lazy Middle America stereotypes.

OK, so the last sentence was admittedly a little bit of editorializing on our part. But the part about blaming tourists is absolutely true. The Wall Street Journal reports that while 99,000 people have signed up for the $95/year annual passes, there’s a huge shortage of people getting 24-hour and 7-day passes for the big blue bikes, many of them tourists who just aren’t using the bikes in the numbers they were predicted to, according to “people familiar with the matter.”

A chart that the Journal made shows that less than 4,000 people per week have bought 24-hour passes from about the second week of November through now, with the decline coinciding with our precipitously dropping temperatures and nightmarish winter. To which we say, harden the fuck up, a vacation isn’t just an opportunity to relax, it’s also an opportunity to push your limits and ride a bike in the snow in 11 degree weather. Citi Bike still isn’t looking for public money and the Department of Transportation isn’t interested in giving them one, so at the moment it remains to be seen where exactly a bailout for the program is gonna come from.


  1. Theresa Summa

    Or, y’know, instead of generalizing Americans who visit, it could be that NYC’s bike infrastructure is iffy. There are brief, lovely protected bike lanes among a sea of free-for-all traffic, double parked cars in bike lanes, potholes, debris and drivers who don’t understand the rights of bicyclists in traffic. It’s legitimately dangerous. If I weren’t familiar with the streets, I wouldn’t bike, either.

    Want tourists to bike? Make it safe to bike.

  2. Scott b

    Ummm this has been the coldest winter in years– so no duh people haven’t used the service much from Nov. unt now. Wait until spring & I’m sure that will turn around.

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