September puts a capstone on what has been a record-breaking summer for the Citi Bike program. Since May, we’ve topped our single day ridership record a whopping nine times, most recently with 135,005 rides on September 11. This month, we’re averaging several thousand more rides per day than last year’s all-time record of 103,159.
At the same time, the surge in ridership has strained the system and created a frustrating experience for some riders. Thank you to our Citi Bike members for your loyalty and your appreciated feedback on how we can improve your riding experience. We’re regular riders of the Citi Bike program, and we feel it too. We wanted to provide some insight about why this is happening and what we’re doing about it.
Ridership of the Citi Bike program has changed drastically since the beginning of the pandemic. Riding patterns are more complicated and unpredictable than ever, with hybrid work schedules layered on top of schools reopening, and warm weather recreational rides that don’t follow traditional commuting patterns, creating imbalances in the system. That is why it’s been more common recently for riders to encounter stations that are either full or empty as we update our rebalancing algorithms to match a growing number of new ridership patterns.
We‘re actively adjusting to these changing patterns, using technology like machine learning to help optimize the time of our operations team so they can be as efficient as possible moving bikes across stations. That means they’re more likely to have the right number of bikes just before the algorithm predicts they’ll see a spike in demand.
Please visit Citi Bike's blog post for more information!