Wednesday, June 09, 2010

And I Shall Call You "Capital Bikeshare"

This fall members of the new Capital Bikeshare will find bike stations in every ward of the District and in Arlington, with plans to expand to new locations in Virginia and Maryland underway. The long awaited expansion was announced last month, and yesterday the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) officially named the new system: Capital Bikeshare. The system will be the largest of its kind, bringing roughly 1100 bikes to 114 stations throughout the region.

DDOT’s Smartbike program originally launched in 2008 in the downtown DC area. DDOT funded the first 10 stations through an advertising deal with ClearChannel, which built the new bus shelters, maintains them and uses them for ads. The ad revenue (or at least an undisclosed percentage of it) initially paid for 10 stations in the downtown area; ClearChannel runs the Smartbikes under the direction of DDOT.

Since then, DDOT Director Gabe Klein has been pushing to expand the program. "Our hope is to create a transit system with bikes" said Klein in a 2009 DCMud interview. Klein posited that an expanded bikesharing system would "hopefully make cycling a primary mode of transportation. It will also be institutionalizing it and bringing it to the masses." You hear that masses? These bikes are for you.

Capital Bikeshare will offer 100 stations in DC and 14 in Arlington. Annual, monthly, and daily memberships will be available for area residents and visitors. Alta Bicycle Share will operate the system. It looks like current Smartbike members will be allowed to use the new system, but DOT spokesman John Lisle said "I don't think the details have been worked out yet...we're still negotiating with ClearChannel."

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Anonymous said...

Gabe Klein needs to be fired. What a waste of taxpayer dollars. How about a study on how infrequently they are used? I think I've seen two people use them in the past 6 months.

Always looking for a way to waste our money, government is. Especially this little ignorant government.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for this, actually. I tested it in Montreal late last summer and really took to it. I can't even imagine what the city would be like without it. It's so popular that the system's name ('Bixi' shortened from bicycle + taxi) is used like a verb, as in "Let's Bixi there, it'll be much faster."

Wouldn't be surprised if the same thing happened with CaBi here.

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