We knew it couldn't be true that New York's new bike share program Citi Bike was as "dreadful" as some Wall Street Journal reports were claiming.
Bike share, after all, is just bicycles...that people share. In Women on Wheels I considered bike sharing to be city cycling's 'gateway goodness,' i.e. a super effective method that eases the biking uninitiated into the pleasures and practical value of biking in cities.
Casey Neistat, an idiosyncratic and creative film maker, decided to see just how good (or bad) Citi BIke are when compared to two of his other daily transport choices - taking taxis, or riding his own bike.
In Neistat's film, taxis come out as the fastest choice (by that we mean a couple of minutes faster) but in terms of their 'pain in the ass' factor, they were the worst.
At first, his own bike seemed better than a bike-share bike to Neistat because of the very high level of frustration and time-wasting he experienced going through the steps of checking out a bike at a Citi Bike kiosk.
Once Neistat realized that Citi Bike members can get a key to bypass the on-screen registration process, he pronounced bike share the least 'pain in the ass' method of transport for his own daily commute.
Of course Neistat's assessment is subjective, and his Manhattan commute is relatively short. But the video goes some way in dispelling some of the notions people might have about bike share.
While there is still quite a lot of media coverage of Citi Bike's effects on the city's residents (and the inevitable report of an accident involving one of the bikes), something must be working. Look at the stats on early usage:
Average trips per day: 14,200
Total revenue thus far: $3,334,000.00
Duration of average ride: 23 minutes, 36 seconds
Most popular bike stations: Broadway and W. 57th St.; West St. and Chambers St.; 17th St. and Broadway
Citigroup’s sponsorship deal for six years, $41 million