A new report reveals Citi Bike operators failed to keep its end of the contract with the city after inadequately inspecting equipment and stations in it first year.
The audit by Comptroller Scott Stringer released on Friday found inconsistent maintenance of bikes and poorly managed docking stations by, as well as long delays in response to complaints.
“New York City Bike Share’s management of Citi Bike left too many New Yorkers in the lurch,” Stringer said, imploring that operator New York City Bike Share make sure every one of its about 6,000 bikes are safe for riders.
“With every missed maintenance check, the safety risk of undisclosed bike defects increases,” he added.
Using data collected by Citi Bike management, Stringer’s office found only 11 of 29 examined stations were inspected as required. Citi Bike is currently responsible for 330 stations citywide.
The audit also found unusually long response times for complaints, with only 60 percent of unclean bike stations meeting the required 48 hours response. Meanwhile, 83 percent of bike cleanliness complaints took an average 79 days to address.
The report also found Citi Bike’s mobile app, which users can download to see bike availability at individual stations, couldn’t detect broken bikes — with an overall accuracy of 73 percent.
In all, Stringer provided seven recommendations to keep Citi Bike in shape going forward, most of which NYCBS agreed to address as it begins its second phase, now charging $149 a year for a yearly membership from the previous $95.
New York City Bike Share is overseen Citi Bike, which launched in May 2013. Its parent company, Alta Bicycle Share, responded to the report by acknowledging Citi Bike’s popularity and said its recent buyout by Bikeshare Holdings LLC will help improve the program.
“With new ownership and an experienced management team being put in place, we are already beginning the hard work of reinventing Citi Bike,” wrote incoming Alta CEO Jay H. Walder. ”New Yorkers will see a much better service in 2015 and moving forward.”
The Department of Transportation, which oversees the contract with Alta, also expects upcoming improvements, indicating that the report doesn’t take managementchanges into account.
“DOT’s priority is to make sure the operator runs an improved, accountable and efficient privately-funded system and we look forward to its continued expansion,” agency spokesman Scott Gastel wrote in a statement.
After news broke in October that Alta would be under new management, the company vowed to invest in both the existing bikes and an doubling its current size by growing into new neighborhoods through 2017.