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New York City's bike-sharing service Citi Bike, which launched less than a year ago, was intended to revolutionize New York City transit — but according to the Wall Street Journal, the service is already in trouble. Sources report that Citi Bike is trying to raise "tens of millions of dollars" to salvage the service, and has already approached Mayor Bill de Blasio about raising its rates.
The months since Citi Bike's May 2013 launch have been riddled with a number of unforeseen difficulties, including damage from Hurricane Sandy, the difficulty of transporting bikes through New York City traffic, and an unusually long and nasty winter. But the biggest problem lies in Citi Bike's base of users: The majority are annual subscribers, who pay just $99 per year for unlimited service. More lucrative short-term users — who can pay $9.95 for a 24-hour pass or $25 for a seven-day pass — have been slower to embrace the service.
There are basic logistical problems that need ironing out — but in the end, the easiest answer to Citi Bike's woes may be patience. With the weather warming up and the service continuing to expand its locations, Citi Bike will likely seem a far more appealing option to both New Yorkers and tourists in the warmer months to come.