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Spokesman Calls Citi Bike Program A Huge Success

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A spokesman said Sunday that the Citi Bike program has been a wild success since it was launched in much of New York City in late May.

As WCBS 880's Jim Smith reported, the blue bikes have been ubiquitous in Lower Manhattan, as well as large sections of Brooklyn.

"Twenty thirteen, in many ways, was the year of the Citi Bike in New York City," said Citi Group spokesman Ed Skyler.

Spokesman Calls Citi Bike Program A Huge Success

Skyler said the program has been immensely successful.

"We had 11 million miles covered, 6 million trips, 100,000 people signed up," Skyler said.

Those statistics, Skyler said, are several times more than what planners ever thought. But he conceded that the first year of Citi Bike was not without its issues.

"We've had the challenges of success, with people trying to find bikes and sometimes not finding slots, people having a bike they want to turn in and having to search for a rack that could accept one," Skyler said.

Indeed, the Citi Bike program drew complaints before it even officially began.

sSme lawsuits were filed before the first bike hit the road. Some residents, drivers and street vendors also voiced their opposition to the program.

The problems persisted just weeks into the program. In June, CBS 2's Jessica Schneider reported many members getting frustrated due to issues with the docking stations.

At a bike sharing station at Union Square, no one could take bikes out or put them back in one day in June, and the computer screen to operate the bike share station was dead. Yet, the Citi Bike app indicated absolutely no problems.

Since then, complaints about the placement of the Citi Bike racks have persisted. The Plaza Hotel filed a lawsuit in October, calling the racks "an eyesore" and "unnecessary when there are other alternatives."

But with Citi declaring the program an overall success, Skyler said Sunday that Citi Group stands ready to partner with Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio's administration if it wants to expand the bike share program.

New York was one of two major U.S. cities to launch large-scale bike sharing programs this year. In June, the similar Divvy bike sharing system launched in Chicago.

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