Wednesday’s Headlines: Citi Bike Mystery Edition
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Wednesday’s Headlines: Citi Bike Mystery Edition

Jun 17, 2023

Our deputy editor was disappointed on Tuesday morning to find the one electric Citi Bike available near his apartment was, in fact, vandalized and unavailable for use.

That's right — as you can see in the above photo, the bike had its QR code and PIN numbers keyed out, making it impossible to rent or ride without one of the rare Citi Bike key fobs.

Other Citi Bike users chimed in on Twitter to say that they had also seen vandalized QR quotes and identification numbers on Citi Bikes in recent weeks. One Redditor suggested, without evidence, that the culprits are teens hoping to "reserve" the bikes for personal use by making it impossible for anyone else to rent them. We’ve asked the NYPD if it has more information.

Same sad vibes

— andy lin the jet lag enthusiast ? (@notchbookair) May 30, 2023

One thing is certain: Citi Bike's e-bikes are in high demand — with many more trips than "classic" non-electric bikes — and low supply, thanks in part to city rules that limit the bike-share fleet to 20 percent electric.

The dynamics of that limited supply were on full display in this month's "Citi Bike Karen" saga, in which a white hospital nurse got into a shouting match with a group of black teens over who would get to rent an e-bike.

The clip of the incident went viral and sparked a reputational war-of-words between the nurse, who is pregnant, and the families of the young men. But given the limited supply, it's hardly surprising that anyone who relies on the e-bikes — for commuting, recreation, or anything else — would go to extra lengths to make the system work for them.

In fact, according to a recent interview with one of the teens and his family, the group of boys had stopped and docked their bikes to keep their rides under 45 minutes and avoid paying extra fees. They were waiting around hoping to take the same bikes back home to the Bronx.

"Regular Citi Bike riders do this," the boy's older sister explained to NewsOne. "The price goes up after 45 minutes for everyone, so people routinely ride their bikes, dock their bikes, ride their bikes, and dock their bikes again."

In other news:

Dave Colon

— TransitCenter (@TransitCenter) May 25, 2023

Filed Under: Citi Bike