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The hugely popular Capital Bikeshare or CaBi as locals call it, has completed more than one of operation and is riding high on its success in DC and adjoining suburbs.
CaBi was born as SmartBike DC in August 2008, when the District of Columbia became the first jurisdiction in North America to launch a bike sharing system. At first, SmartBike D.C. offered 120 bikes at 10 stations in downtown D.C. and the Center City. Approximately 1,600 people joined SmartBike D.C. during its 2 years of operation. Meanwhile, Arlington County, VA was working on its own plans for a bike sharing system. Together, Arlington and the District reviewed proposals and selected an operator for a new bike sharing system in May 2010. The two jurisdictions worked closely to develop Capital Bikeshare and are proud to offer a greatly expanded regional service of over 1,100 bikes and 114 stations.
What Is Capital Bikeshare?
Capital Bikeshare puts 1,100 bicycles at your fingertips. You can choose from over 110 stations across Washington, D.C. and Arlington, VA and return it to any station near your destination. Check out a bike for your trip to work, Metro, run errands, go shopping, or visit friends and family. Join Capital Bikeshare for 24 hours, 5 days, 30 days, or a year, and have access to our fleet of bikes 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The first 30 minutes of each trip are free. Each additional 30 minutes incurs an additional fee.
Benefits of DC’s Bikeshare System
Community Engagement- CaBi truly engages the community by requesting feedback on services, stations and experience. Their efforts are paying off as DC residents are mighty impressed by the program.
Alternative Transportation- The Washington Post reported that after last week’s earthquake, ridership tripled between 2pm and 4pm, compared to the previous day! When traffic snarls were reported all through DC, bikers did not have too many complaints! CaBi has become another means of getting around for DC workers and residents, that is environmentally friendly and carbon friendly!
Pedestrian Friendly City = Vibrant Economy- Not only does it encourage a healthy lifestyle, it also fosters community well-being, where pedestrians and cyclists interact with and have easy access to local businesses, contributing to a vibrant city and economy.
Road Blocks to Expand the Program?
Federal/State Funding- While twelve percent of all trips nationwide happen by bike or on foot, states spend just 1 percent of transportation funds for such facilities. These programs are also like the low-hanging fruit that Congress is always looking to cut.
Federal Government Non-Cooperation- The Capital Bikeshare program has been rejected by the National Parks Service that has jurisdiction over many parts of DC, like the monuments. This opposition seems irrational as tourists could benefit a great deal if facilities were provided near monuments and federal employees could avail the facilities at federal buildings.
Despite the above obstacles, the DC’s bike share system has exceeded all expectations and has become the lifeline of the capital area. The bright red bikes have taken over the city and are here to stay. Great job DC!!