The New York City Department of Transportation announced on Friday that launch of the bike sharing program known as Citi Bike, originally scheduled for this summer, will be delayed until March of next year. Continued work on the software that will run the system was cited as the cause.

“New York City demands a world-class bike share system, and we need to ensure that Citi Bike launches as flawlessly as New Yorkers expect on Day One,” said Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan in a statement released by the department. “The enthusiasm for this program continues to grow and we look forward to bringing this affordable new transportation option to New Yorkers without cost to taxpayers.”

Citi Bike, which when fully deployed will be by far the largest system of its kind in North America, will comprise 10,000 bikes available 24/7 from 600 docking stations in Manhattan, Long Island City and Brooklyn. Citigroup’s commitment of $41 million for a 5-year sponsorship was announced in spring. The updated plan calls for an initial spring roll-out of 7,000 bikes at 420 stations, but the DOT statement did not provide any location details.

In a Friday morning radio interview on WOR, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg said of the software, “We’re not going to put it out until it does work.”

“It really is very advanced technology,” the Mayor continued. “Each station is like a dock, each place you stick in a bike is a computer, and everything runs on solar power, so you don’t need a lot of wiring and there’s no burden on the electrical system. There’s an enormous number of transactions you have to communicate in real time to central computers.”

In the mean time enthusiasm for the coming system remains high. A Quinnipiac poll released Thursday indicates that an all-time high of 74 percent of New Yorkers citywide support bike sharing.

Photo: Citi Bike on Facebook

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