Solve It 7: Bike-Share Shocker

Samantha reached out to Blue Bikes’ parent company, Lyft. She says the representative told her they had no record the bike being returned and they …

BOSTON (WHDH) – Life in the big city can be exciting for someone who grew up in the suburbs.

“[I] love coming into the city,” says Emmanuel College student Samantha Johndro. “It’s so exciting. It’s awesome.”

Samantha is loving that city life. As an Emmanuel freshman, the Hub is her new home away from home.

“I just love the feel of Boston,” she says.

One of the things she loves about the city is all of the different ways to get around town, from walking to ride sharing to the T and Blue Bikes, the bike rental app that’s become popular in many big cities.

But it was that bike-sharing program that left Samantha’s head spinning this past fall when a $2.50 ride turned into a $1,200 missing bike ordeal.

Back in September, Johndro decided to give Blue Bikes a try.

“It was a form of public transportation [that] was environmentally friendly,” she says. “It was easy, accessible.”

She downloaded the app and reserved a bike at a station near her campus. Two dollars and 50 cents for 30 minutes and she could drop the bike off at any Blue Bikes station.

“You kind of just are supposed to push the bike into the docking slot and wait for the green light,” Johndro says.

She had no problem picking up the bike but had some issues returning it at the end of her half-hour window.

“I just kept doing that back and forth,” Johndro says, showing Solve It 7 how she attempted to return the bike to its docking station. “Nothing was happening. There was no light.”

Sam left the bike in the rack at the docking station and jumped on the commuter rail to take the train home for the weekend. While onboard, she looked at her Blue Bikes app to make sure her bike had been checked back in.

“It was still running and I said, ‘Oh no, this is not Ok,” she says.

Samantha reached out to Blue Bikes’ parent company, Lyft. She says the representative told her they had no record the bike being returned and they would be treating the situation as if it were stolen. Blue Bikes charged her account $1,275 for the unreturned bicycle.

“I was angry,” she says.

Samantha says she called the company several times, but they refused to remove or reduce the fee. Unsure of what to do next, Samantha realized she needed help and contacted Solve It 7.

We called Lyft and a representative confirmed there was no sign of the missing bike. But, as a good-faith gesture, Lyft did offer to give Samantha a big break on the money she owed, reducing it by more than a thousand dollars.

“Literally I sighed of relief,” says Johndro.

She’s thankful to Solve It 7 for making this costly lesson learned a little more bearable.

“You guys took my problem seriously,” she says. “You respected me and you helped me a lot.”

Is there a problem you can’t seem to solve? Maybe we can help. Give us a call at 617-367-7777 or send us an email at SolveIt7@whdh.com.

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