Citi Bike's growing pains, in 5 charts: by @chrisgayomali via @FastCompany
Annual Membership Sign-Ups (2014)

One of the major challenges for Citi Bike so far has been grappling with the unexpected popularity of its annual memberships. While 24-hour and 7-day passes were expected to subsidize the program at $10 and $25, respectively, an annual pass is just $95. On March 11, for example, one of the warmest days of the year so far, there was an enormous spike in annual memberships purchased. Customers find it too big a bargain to pass up.

24-Hour Passes Purchased (2014)

Contrast that with the 24-hour passes purchased on March 11. Part of that has to do with faulty and damaged kiosks. In fact, Bixi, the Montreal-based supplier of the stations, filed for bankruptcy back in January.

Cumulative Trips

That said, the number of trips taken has been nothing less than staggering, as the program passes the 7 million-trip mark.

Miles Ridden Per Day

To wit: Even on the coldest days, Citi Bike members still tallied a few thousand total miles ridden. (How they were able to do this in several inches of snow, we haven't a clue.) On warmer days, like March 21st, that figure exploded to well over the 40,000 mile mark.

Total Annual Members

This chart perfectly encapsulates how popular its annual membership package has proven. Citi Bike is now crossing the 100,000 member threshold since launching in May 2013--not even a year ago.

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Citi Bike's Growing Pains, In 5 Charts

The bike share's annual memberships have proven more popular than expected, putting a financial strain on the widely used but troubled program.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal broke the news that New York City's sprawling bike share program, Citi Bike, is in a deep financial hole, allegedly hemorrhaging tens of millions of dollars.

The transportation initiative presents an interesting friction: On one hand, it is very, very popular with annual subscribers; on the other, its infrastructure is weighed down by a snowballing confluence of failures, from a faulty pricing model to an over-reliance on private contractors that may have been in over their heads.

To that end, Citi Bike is in all likelihood too large and too entrenched to disappear anytime soon. Yes, it is too big to fail. But just how big is it? On Monday, Citi Bike released a fascinating new system dataset that should give us a clearer indication of how it has fared through a challenging winter. In the slideshow above, we've teased out some of the more interesting data sets and provided some notes for context.

[Image: Flickr user Patrick Damiano]

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