THE CITY OF NEW YORK OFFICE OF THE COMPTROLLER
Scott M. Stringer, Comptroller
This audit was conducted to determine whether New York City Bike Share, LLC (NYCBS) maintained bike-share program equipment in compliance with applicable provisions of its contract with the Department of Transportation (DOT). DOT is responsible for the safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible movement of people and goods throughout New York City and for promoting the use of sustainable modes of transportation. On May 27, 2013, NYCBS, in partnership with DOT, launched the ―Citi Bike‖ program to provide New York City residents and visitors with an alternative option for getting around the City. The program operates 24 hours a day, year round. It consists of a fleet of approximately 6,000 specially-designed bikes that are locked into a network of approximately 330 stations installed at various sites in Manhattan (south of 59th Street) and Brooklyn (north of Atlantic Avenue and west of Nostrand Avenue). Bikes rented through Citi Bike can be obtained from and returned to any station in the system. Under the contract, NYCBS is responsible for installing, cleaning, and maintaining all program-related equipment, including bikes and stations (both docks and kiosks).
Audit Findings and Conclusions
During the audit period, NYCBS failed to maintain Citi Bike program equipment (bikes and stations) as required by its contract with DOT and its own internal operating procedures. Specifically, NYCBS did not: (1) perform maintenance checks on all bicycles on a monthly basis; (2) perform station inspections twice per week; (3) ensure that on-street maintenance checks of bikes were properly documented; (4) respond within the required timeframes to cleanliness issues with bicycles and stations after discovery or notification of problems; and (5) maintain connectivity of stations to its main database at required levels. As a result of these deficiencies, the riding public is exposed to increased safety risks and customer satisfaction is potentially jeopardized.
To address the findings raised in this audit, we made the following eight recommendations: NYCBS should maintain sufficient staffing levels of on-street bike checkers to ensure that monthly maintenance inspections are performed on bikes in accordance with its contract with DOT.
- NYCBS should ensure that stations are inspected in accordance with the requirements set forth in its contract with DOT.
- NYCBS should ensure that on-street bike checks are appropriately documented and recorded in compliance with its own procedures.
- NYCBS should review its operating practices for addressing DOT complaints and modify them to ensure that station and bike cleanliness issues can be addressed within the time required by its contract with DOT.
- NYCBS should procure the software necessary to allow it to remotely lock bikes at stations.
- NYCBS should develop a strategy for increasing and maintaining station uptime to comply with its contract with DOT. One strategy to consider would be to schedule more frequent station maintenance inspections to ensure quicker identification and handling of station malfunctions or disruptions.
- NYCBS should develop a procedure to ensure that the underlying data feed communicated to the Citi Bike app reflects accurate information about available and working docks and bikes.
- DOT should implement effective procedures to continuously monitor NYCBS’s equipment maintenance operations. Those procedures should, at a minimum, include timely follow up in response to conditions reported by DOT inspectors, and verification of NYCBS’s self-reported performance metrics.
Of the eight recommendation made in this audit, seven were directed to NYCBS and one to DOT. In its response, NYCBS generally agreed with 6 of the 7 recommendations made to the company and did not address our recommendation that it review its operating practices for addressing DOT complaints to ensure that station and bike cleanliness is addressed in a timely manner. DOT agreed to implement the one recommendation directed to the agency.
About the City of New York Office of the Comptroller
Scott M. Stringer is the Comptroller of the City of New York, the City’s Chief Financial Officer, responsible for providing an independent voice to safeguard the fiscal health of the City, root out waste, fraud and abuse in City government and ensure the effective performance of City agencies to achieve their goals of serving the needs of all New Yorkers.