viernes, 23 de agosto de 2013

New York's City Bike Share

New York's bike-share programme seems to be encountering some difficulties, as this New York Times video demonstrates.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and say whether the statements below are true or false.

The activity is suitable for Intermediate 2 students.

1 Everybody is happy with the bike-share programme.
2 The programme has been running for two years now.
3 A user (Ivan Baker) says that he's having problems 40% or 50% he tries to get a bike.
4 Some of the problems seems to have to do with vandalism.
5 The instructions to borrow a bike are clear.
6 New Yorkers make more than 170,000 bike trips annually.
7 New Yorkers have a reputation for being patient.

It could be better if it works then I’d be on the bike now but…
Yeah, it doesn’t seem to work, maybe we have to find another station.
It’s been a rough road so far for New York City’s ambitious bike-share programme.
We’ve basically imported Europe’s most boring idea.
The programme started two weeks ago with the installation of 6,000 shiny blue bikes across more than 300 stations in New York City. But on Wednesday, a multi-bike trip from Brooklyn into mid-town Manhattan, with several stops at stations along the way, revealed some of the problems that have bedevilled riders and led to a flurry of complaints about a system some say was not ready for prime time.
It’s been my experience 40%, 50% some times on bad days don’t report that the bike has been returned or I can’t get a bike out. And it’s just not taking my card, before I had no problem at all, and I’ve been using it all around in Brooklyn, and yeah it looks like I’ll have to go to another station.
Just across the Brooklyn Bridge at City Hall. One of the city’s bike fixers was busy resetting the entire rack. Although almost every bike was fine someone had pushed every button signaling the need for repair.
I don’t know who is malicious. It could’ve been.
Soon after the station’s first customer arrived.
We are from Sweden, we arrived last Saturday and we’re going to be here for a week. We think like taking a bike for a tourist is really nice.
But things didn’t go as hoped.
Yeah, [it] doesn’t seem to work, maybe we have to find another station.
Just up the street at Hudson and Reed bike-share, users were greeted with the blank screen. The entire station, it seemed, was without power. The bike-share I-phone app directed users to the same station, suggesting everything was just fine. Of course, despite these problems, the systems seem to work fine for many.
It’s a…but it was flawless… I loved it.
It’s been acceptable for me. I haven’t had any problems with bad kiosks or those sort of things so far.
Others just found it confusing.
Did it give me the code for the bike that I was supposed to get, or did it me give the code that I have to enter somewhere, or do I dip my card.
So far the City says more than 170,000 trips have been taken with annual memberships surpassing 36,000
I look at this as a big quality of life enhancer, yeah.
The biggest problem encountered on this day was at Grand Central Station. One of the system’s largest which was entirely shut down.
I’ve had two trips already where I was charged 45 hours because I thought it had taken and then someone took it out, and took it around for two days. They cleared the charge but it’s crazy, all these stations are down.
The bike-share programme is clearly going through growing pains and city officials, who would not go on camera said in an email statement that this was an adjustment period. New Yorkers, for the most part, seem enthusiastic, and while not always the most patient people in the world, seem willing for now to give the programme a chance.
I don’t want to think like this is a terrible programme. It’s the best thing I think has happened to the city and I’ve been living here for thirty years.
This is Erik Olsen reporting for The New York Times.

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