Bad news, New Yorkers: You won’t be able to spend the winter biking around Manhattan. At least, unless you have your own ride.
When we last checked in on efforts to bring 10,000 rentable bikes to the city, the plan had been delayed a month due to software glitches. That was two months ago. This morning, Mayor Bloomberg made it official: no bikes until spring.
[The mayor] said on his radio show today: “Unfortunately there are software issues. The software doesn’t work. Duh. Until it works, we’re not going to put it out.
“We did think there would be a possibility we would have bikes on the streets this summer. We think … this spring. Hopefully the software will work by then.”
Duh, guys. Duh. You can’t ride bikes without properly working software. Duh. Everyone knows that.
The impediment posed by the software, of course, is the renting. There needs to be an effective system in place for tracking bike possession and incurring charges, lest the 10,000 bikes end up in Seattle. The vendor providing the bikes (and the software) is Alta Bicycle Share. It runs successful operations in D.C. and Boston, and recently won a bid to bring bikes to Chicago. That roll-out has also not gone smoothly.
The Chicago system is also delayed, and the losing vendor in that city has sued, saying the Chicago transportation commissioner, Gabe Klein, had an inappropriate consulting relationship with Alta. A Klein spokesman says there’s nothing untoward and that Klein recused himself from Chicago’s selection.
It’s not entirely clear to me why this is more complicated than taking D.C.’s software and doing a find-and-replace between “Washington” and “New York” — but, then, Washington probably has some uber-hip, cutting-edge thing that New York isn’t quite ready for. Until next spring, then, New Yorkers will have to gaze wistfully at the D.C. types zipping around on their little red bikes and then shuffle onto NYC’s go-to means of transport: pedicabs.