Citi Bikes Soon to Allow Riders to Count Calories

NEW YORK (AP) -

New Yorkers may soon be able to count calories burned and miles traveled while pedaling Citi Bikes, the popular bicycle-sharing program that is undergoing a major overhaul under new leadership.

The new CEO of the Brooklyn-based company that owns Citi Bike says a revamped smartphone app will soon offer such detailed fitness stats and allow people to make real-time reports of such issues as flat tires or broken seats.

Jay Walder, a mass transit veteran who used to run the MTA, envisions the bikes becoming a seamless part of the city’s transportation network, with plans in the works to incorporate docking stations into architectural designs for massive new developments.

Launched in 2013 to much fanfare, the wildly popular public bicycles have endured a bumpy ride. Superstorm Sandy swamped a fleet, delaying its debut. Bikes got stuck at docking stations and were poorly maintained. The app wasn’t reliable. People complained of a dearth of bikes in the most high-trafficked areas of the city.

Alta Bicycle Share, its parent company, was nearly bankrupt when it was bought by a group of investors and relocated from Portland to New York.

One major improvement was completely rewriting the app software. Now, if you dock a bicycle, you will see the update showing within seconds, as opposed to several minutes.

“As I said to one of the suppliers … ‘You do know that a New York minute is about 15 seconds,’” Walder said.