NYC’s Bikeshare is Almost Here


Not long now – less than a month – until the 1 May launch of New York City’s long-awaited and delayed (the hurricane last year didn’t help) bikeshare system, Citi Bike. Stations are starting to be rolled out.

A pilot test is currently being run with some docking stations and bikes, in the Navy Yard area of Brooklyn. I’ve discovered the live data feed for these stations, and combined it with the “planned stations” data feed, to produce a map of the system as it stands, which I’ve added to my Bike Share Map. The live docking stations are in blue/red colours, depending on how full of bikes they currently are, while the planned stations are in grey – dark grey for Phase 1 (launching in May), and light grey for Phase 2 (later this year). The rollout is happened in two phases due to damage inflicted on some of the warehoused bikes caused by the flooding from Hurricane Sandy late last year. Disasters like that kind of put the occasional complaints about the London’s own system into perspective!

London and New York share a common base design for both the bikes and docking stations, so in theory if you were to fly a Boris Bike to NY, it would fit in a dock’s slot – although I presume the system would then reject it for having an alien ID! Both cities’ docking stations and bikes have had design modifications from the Montreal BIXI original, with London’s docking stations being concreted in to the ground while NY’s docking stations have a solar “tower” for power, and a credit-card shaped slot as well as the normal key slot, for future integration with transport smartcards.

One of the most promising parts of the Citi Bike website is the System Data tab – right there on the front page. This looks like NYC will potentially be joining London, Minneapolis, Washington DC and Boston (and possibly Paris soon) in making anonymous journey data available to anyone who wants to analyse it.

Incidentally I’m delighted to see that the NYC system has an official blog and it looks like it’s not alone, with the largest non-Chinese system in the world, Paris, also having an official blog. Come on London, get blogging!