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Citi Bike NYC (ALTA) Looting Customers Via "Late" Fees

Rainbow Girl's picture

NY Post. Since it began 2 years ago Citi-Bike, the privatized bike-sharing program given by Ex-Mayor-for-Life "Mike" Bloomberg to the Canadian Alta company, has racked up $4 Million (!) dollars in "late" fees.

Citi-Bike had early on proven itself to be an operational #FAIL in the classic manner of neo-liberal enterprise (We Deliver the Most Craptastic Services!) early on, with docks not working, bikes being broken or unavailable, etc.

Also, as noted previously at Corrente, Alta fit the neo-liberal looting corporation profile by its rawther troubling history of lawlessness, with other municipalities where it did a bike-share program (Canada) and violating Federal wage laws.

Anyway, returning to the latest on Citi-Bike -- it's "Late" Fee bonanza -- it seems that what we called a #FAIL may actually be ... the business model, working very well (for ALTA). This is why I put the "late" in ""late fees" in quotes. Otherwise, the phrase connotes "bad customer." And this is a Private-Public Looting Scheme, so (shocker) the "late" part is not always the fault of the customer, who nonetheless gets looted fined anyway and because/regardless if the #FAIL happens on Citi-Bike's side of the street (which it does, a lot). Gee, it's almost like "late" fees are part of the ALTA/Citi-Bike revenue model (*) and the dysfunctions on the Citi Bike end are bugs!


Katherine Kies, a 26-year-old from Chelsea, said she was hit with a $108 penalty after her bike didn’t dock properly.
“My account was shut down, and they didn’t give me any form of notification,” she said. “I fought it and they got rid of it, but I couldn’t use the bike that day. I was late. [Nice feature of Citi Bike: you are ripped off twice: fighting the bogus fee and being unable to use the product.] (**)”

[Kind of like dealing with "health" insurance!]

Chris Buttone, 43, a plumber who works in Manhattan [unlike Alta's CEO's and Executives who got a freeby franchise from "Mike" the Mayor], said he was hit with a late fee in June after his usual station on West 41st Street turned up broken.

I had to find another station, and by the time I found one I ended up two minutes late,” he said. “And they charge you for that.”

Real-estate agent Julien DuBois, 26, said the 45-minute window for annual users isn’t enough time to avoid a fee. “I’ve had a few, because sometimes it takes more than 45 minutes in the city,” he said. “It’s not a lot of time.”

[Poor Julien hasn't understood that making the window too short for New York is the whole point because KA CHING for Alta!]

Well, the $4M should help Citi-Bike/Alta fill that hole of "millions of dollars in debt" that it seems to have managed to create. And the press has been mum about Citi-Bike's request that NYC start giving it taxpayer money, because it is such a success and can't possibly expand to the Bronx (!) unless City Hall shells out.

Given DeBlasio so far, I have a sinking feeling, but hope very much that Citi-Bike/Alta will be turned away. What are the chances he'll step up to the plate for the good New Yorkers who are riding bikes instead of creating car fumes and demand that Alta-Citi-Bike reimburse ever single nuisance "late" fee caused by its own malfunctions, with interest and penalties.

NOTE. Citi-Bike is a Kafkaesque fee-trap for users, the way Ferguson's local Court and traffic rule system is a device to indebt and imprison Ferguson's citizens. There is a ginormous difference in seriousness between the looted Citi-Bike users and the vicious war being waged on Ferguson's citizens by their superiors in power. But it is worth noting how Ferguson is simply a "scaling up" of Citi-Bike's looting of customers via its "late" fee system, and that this predatory model (as we know) is insiduously entrenched in every nook and cranny of America. ObamaCare, as documented exhaustively by Lambert, being another majorly scaled up version and, as Lambert noted in an earlier thread on Cit-Bike #FAIL, the banks' fraud-on-homeowners mortgage clusterfuck.

(*) The fee structure kind of gives it away. For instance, you have a $4 short term pass, but if you go over 30 minutes it's $4 and if you go over 1 hour it's $13. Every half hour after that, $12 bucks. If you have a long-term pass, you're dinged $2.50 after 45 minutes, $9 after 75 minutes, and $9 for every 30 minutes after that.

(**) And the Citi Bike system for handling it's crappy docks is guaranteed to tax your time and logisical abilities #fail - again, feature not bug: "A Citi Bike spokeswoman said riders can request a 15-minute time credit at a full kiosk so they can reach another station without paying extra money. BWA HA HA HA HA." [Using Citi Bike is so "easy" - just like buying health insurance on line!]

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Submitted by lambert on

They're everywhere! They're everywhere!

hyperpolarizer's picture
Submitted by hyperpolarizer on

As a New Yorker in exile, just returned from a week-long job there, I am laughing my fucking ass off. Bloembergen was an ambulatory disaster for the City, and I can't believe (former) co-citizens abrogated the City Constitution to grant him a third term in which to wreak further destruction.