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Tech Glitch Again Delays City Bike Share Launch

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TWC News: Tech Glitch Again Delays City Bike Share Launch
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Mayor Bloomberg on Friday announced the Citi Bike program, slated to begin last month, will not launch until March as all parties involved in the $41 million sponsorship work to resolve software issues. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

When the planned rollout date for the city’s ambitious bike-share program came and went last month, Mayor Michael Bloomberg cited unspecified software problems, problems that have apparently yet to be resolved.

“One of the newspapers keeps writing: you’re hiding something," Bloomberg said on his radio show Friday. "Yeah, well, nothing. The software doesn’t work. Duh. We’re not going to put it out until it does work.”

That won’t be until next March, the city said Friday, eight months later than originally planned.

When the program does finally launch next year, there will initially be 7,000 bikes available at 420 docking stations around the city, many of them concentrated in Manhattan below 60th Street. New Yorkers can check out a bike at one station and return it at any other.

The bikes will cost about $10 for a day pass, $25 for a week and $95 dollars a year, plus overtime fees for trips exceeding a certain time limit.

Mayor Bloomberg emphasized that the program is privately funded, with Citibank kicking in $41 million.

“Keep in mind, there’s no penalty," he said. "The public isn’t paying a dime for this. It’s done with private money. The people that are putting up the money understand.”

Bike advocates said that getting the system right is more important than getting it quickly.

“We’re a little disappointed," said Paul Steely White of Transportation Alternatives. "Everyone, I think, thought this was going to be the summer of bicycling in New York City. But we’re content that that starts next spring.”

Comptroller John Liu, who’s criticized some aspects of the plan, said the city should take the extra time to focus on safety measures.

“There are also concerns that the insurance coverage held by the vendor may not be sufficient and that city taxpayers could be on the hook for some exposure,” he said.

City officials, though, expect the program to make money, with profits split between the system’s operator and the city.

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