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Bike-sharing network launches today

[This post has been updated]

Capital Bikeshare, the regional biking network developed by the District and Arlington County, launches today.

According to officials, 49 stations are operational and about five are being activated each day, allowing users to pick up a bike in one location and return it at any station. The system will feature about 1,100 bicycles at 114 stations in the District and Arlington.

The program is currently offering a $25 discount off the $75 annual membership fee. Monthly memberships are available for $25, and daily memberships will be available at the bike stations for $5.

The memberships allow for unlimited rentals, with the first 30 minutes of every trip being free. The second half-hour will cost $1.50, and the third half-hour will cost an additional $3. Each 30-minute period beyond that will cost $6.

Officials held a press conference and inaugural ride Monday morning at the headquarters of the Department of Transportation in Southeast Washington.

Transportation writer Ashley Halsey III attended. Check back for more details.

-- Staff reports

Map of bike stations

By Michael Bolden  | September 20, 2010; 9:17 AM ET
Categories:  Biking, District, Metro, Northern Virginia  
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Next: Thousands pledge to be car-free


Uhm, buy your own bike?

Posted by: cbmuzik | September 20, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

This business model has been vetted in other cities. It should work here.

That being said, yes, I do have my own bike.

Posted by: krickey7 | September 20, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

uh, buy a bike and save money?

Posted by: cbmuzik | September 20, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

@cbmuzik I already own a bike and I just joined. BikeShare will be fantastic when I want to run an errand downtown and it will be faster to bike than walk or use transit, but don't have a bike because I do not ride my bike to work. It will also be nice if I want to ride to work in the morning, but have plans in the evening, or if it is nice in the morning but rainy in the evening. Can't wait until it is fully operational!

Posted by: DCLiz | September 20, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

how about, have your own bike, use it when neccesary and get more exercise walking or jogging to places of short distance? I see no need for this program being a native Washingtonian.

I have applauded many of D.C.'s improvements but this one makes no sense to me whatsoever.

If others enjoy it, fine. But renting a bike just to get up the block faster than walking...I just don't. It seems so Smallville'ish to me.

Posted by: cbmuzik | September 20, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

cbmuzik: how about a person lives in VA or MD, works in DC, and needs to do errands during the day. It's a lot easier, cheaper, and faster to get around on a bike than to drive, take the bus, walk, or wait for Metrorail. It's ridiculous to say that a person is going to check out a bike to ride one block. They're going to walk.

People will find a use for this even if you don't.

Posted by: bikes-everywhere | September 20, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

This program works great in every city that has implemented it. It works better the more stations you add. I am so proud of DC for getting this off the ground.

Posted by: supersmax | September 20, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

so we can get rid of all the cars now, right?

Posted by: jiji1 | September 20, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I have used the Velibre system in Paris, which is basically exactly the same, and loved it. I lived about an hour and a half from Paris for a year and would spend Saturdays in Paris quite frequently. Even if I had a bike in my town, I couldn't have brought it into Paris on the train. So at least for tourists you could do a ride around the mall for example for not too much. I'm guessing you can also do what is allowed in Paris, to circumvent the hourly rental fee, by checking bikes in and out every half hour...if you really don't want to pay.

Posted by: kahuna613 | September 20, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Aren't you required by law to have a bike helmet? What do you do if you don't have one but rent one of these? Do I get fined by DC finest?

Posted by: B-rod | September 20, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

b-rod: DC has a child helmet law. There is no law for adults, so, no you cannot get fined for a non-existent law.

I have been really looking forward to this - this works everywhere it has been implemented, so hoorah to DC for moving this program forward.

Posted by: Greent | September 20, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

so we can get rid of all the cars now, right?

Posted by: jiji1 | September 20, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Why don't you run for elective office on that platform and see how far you get?

Posted by: WashingtonDame | September 20, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Arlington County is spending $850,000 to rent out 110 bicycles at 14 stations. That’s more than $7500 per generic rental bike.

By comparison, one can buy a decent 10-speed bike for under $200.

The cost of this program is staggering, even by free-spending Arlington standards. Heck, the County could buy a thousand 10-speeds and give ‘em away, for a fraction of what they’re spending on this new scheme.

And how many bicyclists would want to rent a generic bike for a limited time and then return it to a kiosk? Most cyclists (including me) would rather ride their own bikes and take them home.

Posted by: jrmil | September 20, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I don't think this is aimed at cyclists. And I believe you are including one-time expenses like the cost of the stations. If you gave out 1,000 free bikes, you'd have to do it again in a year or two, forever.

Posted by: krickey7 | September 20, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

@krickey7: The figure is the total cost of the Arlington program (stations, bicycles, consultants). That's what the taxpayers are being forced to pay here -- the contractor is putting up nothing. Why would you not include the total cost of the program?

If we just bought bikes and gave them away, we could save the overhead -- the cost would be under $200/bike, and we'd be putting more bikes in service. (We could save even more by purchasing fewer bicycles -- most cyclists already buy their own, and don't need a government hand-out.)

But with this inefficient program, the taxpaying public will be be pay more than $7500 for each bicycle. What an outrage.

BTW, bicycles last more than "a year or two". (My 10-speed is 8 years old, works fine.) And I'll bet that repair and replacement costs will be *MUCH* higher for rental bikes (which are left out in the rain) than for bicycles which have permanent owners.

Posted by: jrmil | September 21, 2010 12:45 AM | Report abuse

"BTW, bicycles last more than "a year or two". (My 10-speed is 8 years old, works fine.) And I'll bet that repair and replacement costs will be *MUCH* higher for rental bikes (which are left out in the rain) than for bicycles which have permanent owners."

Yeah, but wouldn't you have to give out new bikes to people who weren't here/eligible at the time you gave them out before? People who are now 18, new people to the area, people who had their bike stolen, people didn't get a bike before and want something free now, people who had their own bike but now it's crappy and they would rather have a free new one, etc. etc. etc. It's never ending.

What this does is provide another option for getting around, thus increasing the overall convienence of not traveling by car. If I go into the city at rush hour by metro, I can't take my bike. But maybe my office is 1 mile from a metro. Rather than waiting for a bus, I could grab one of these bikes. You take a car because it's more convienent. Well, for some people, this will add the convienence they need to ditch their car.

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | September 21, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

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