New Report Says Citi Bike Program Has Improved, Audit Outdated

December 16, 2014 | Prachi Gupta

Ben Fried over at Streetsblog has essentially audited a recent audit on Citi Bike oversight by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s Office and has found that it is inaccurate, reporting, “Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office took so long to produce an audit of Citi Bike maintenance that major issues flagged in the report no longer appear to be affecting the system.”

Fried is referring to this release, which chastised Citi Bike program operator New York City Bike Share for “shoddy oversight” and “poor maintenance.” All bikes are required to undergo a complete maintenance at least one a month. But only 28 percent of bikes were checked in November 2013, and rose to 73 percent by April, the audit found. While the audit acknowledged company-wide layoffs were partially to blame for the low numbers, its press release failed to mention, according to Streetsblog, the recent progress being made:

But beginning this spring, Citi Bike has gradually improved its maintenance record. In February, Citi Bike reported inspecting only 34 percent of its bike fleet. By June, the rate was up to 71 percent. And from July through October, between 98 and 100 percent of the fleet received mechanical checks each month. Customer service calls are dropping compared to the same time last year. The improvement began even before new management took over in October, injecting more financial resources.

Fried suspects the misleading report, which was disseminated to the media, has something to do with the previous comptroller’s agenda:

The audit was initiated when John Liu was comptroller, and the news cycle following its release feels like the last gasp of bike-share fearmongering that Liu started propagating back before the system launched. (Curbed headline: “Citi Bike Has Apparently Been Unsafe for Riders Since Launch.”)

Now you know: it’s safe to hop back onto that Citi Bike.

(Photo: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork)