Monday, April 21, 2014

Simple CitiBike Rebalance Solution

This would seem to be a very simple and fast rebalancing solution - taking bikes from full or nearly-full stations along Broadway and moving them 1-2 avenue blocks west to the empty stations in Hell's Kitchen.  It would solve 2 problems at once with a minimum of commute time.  Why hasn't CitiBike figured this out?

Edited to add: this screenshot was taken Monday, April 21 at 9:45am


  1. I'm assuming this snapshot was taken during business hours. The empty stations are in a mostly-residential area (west of 8th Ave), and the full ones are in a mostly-business area (east of 8th Ave). The process reverses itself during the evening rush hour. The same is true for the stations near Grand Central and Port Authority. Rebalancing at those times is pretty costly and needs to be done very rapidly to accommodate the mass flow of people going in one direction.

    One possible solution: Higher pricing structure for commuters. Annual membership should have special pricing for use during morning and evening rush hours. This can reduce volume some what and finance the rebalancing costs. Perhaps they can also offer rebalancing "points" of some sort to account holders who move a bike from a full station to an empty one.

  2. My first comment! Thanks! I took the screenshot at the tail end of the morning commute (Monday at 9:45am). I see what you're saying about rush hours and how the business areas will need the bikes come evening rush, so taking too many from that area during the day wouldn't be good. But I would like to see at least a handful of bikes in Hell's Kitchen throughout the day.

    I got the impression that CitiBike was primarily for commuters and I think it's been used this way, so the majority of riders would need to pay the higher prices. Frankly, despite the issues with availability, I would be happy to pay more than the current $95 membership fee (I would be fine with the proposed $145) if it meant fuller stations in HK. But I love the idea of credits for users who move bikes from a full to empty station (maybe a new corporate partner could set up a rewards system). I was shocked to read here: that it costs $6 to rebalance each bike. Surely that number is too high?