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Commuters Frustrated As Citi Bike Docking Stations Break Down

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Thousands of people are enjoying the new Citi Bike shared bicycles every day, but many stations are still being plagued with persistent problems.

And as CBS 2's Jessica Schneider reported Wednesday night, Citi Bike members are getting frustrated.

"I tried to use my key thing and it wouldn't work," Claudia Citkovitz said.

CBS 2 arrived at a station on East 14th Street and Broadway at the height of the evening rush. Mike Parng tried to use his yearly pass to take a bike, but with no luck.

"Occasionally, it won't detect and sometimes it'll reject it," said Parng of the East Village. "And when I'm in a rush, it really slows down my day. You just can't get a bike. "

Usually the pass will beep to allow Parng to take a bike, but this time, he said, it went "urr."

"It doesn't like me," Parng said. "This is what I've had to deal with before."

Citkovitz arrived five minutes later, and immediately placed a call to Citi Bike reps. She said she tried three different keycard readers and none of them worked.

CBS 2's Schneider stood at the bike station in Union Square for more than an hour. But no one could take bikes out, no one could put them back in, and the computer screen to operate the bike share station was dead.

Yet, the Citi Bike app was indicating absolutely no problems.

With confused would-be riders shaking their heads at the problems, CBS 2 decided to call for help.

"There are still some kinks that we're discovering," said Citi Bike worker Juseg Reynoso.

In this case, the batteries at the station were dead. Reynoso said he'd had to fix the station multiple times.

He said the batteries are drained whenever the solar panels that operate the docking system do not see enough sunlight. The city Department of Transportation insisted that the stations are not affected by the weather.

But DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan did concede, "We're still working to make the experience from first swipe to final docking a seamless and reliable part of New Yorkers' commutes."

The department said it has been giving credits to inconvenienced riders.

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