Sunday, September 26, 2010

Capital Bikeshare

The project, known as Capital Bikeshare, is the latest to come to a major American city, mirrors the systems have become integrated into many European cities. Its goals are both modest and potentially transformative: to get more people riding bikes, thereby promoting health, and shift the way transit systems work in cities. In June, Minneapolis launched its Nice Ride program, with over 60 solar-powered stations and 700 bikes. A similar effort got under way in April in Denver, with 425 bikes. A major program is set to make its debut in Miami this fall, and New York is studying a massive program, with 30,000 bikes. For the last two years, Washington has had a very small bike share program, SmartBike, which was owned and operated by Clear Channel. Vandalism and theft were not a major problem for Washington’s earlier program, as it was in Paris. The new stations are portable, solar-powered and wirelessly connected to a central processing hub. Memberships cost $75 a year, and bikes can also be taken out by the day for a $5 daily membership fee paid by credit card. After that, the first 30 minutes are free. The next 30 minutes cost $1.50, followed by $4.50 for the next 30 minutes and $6 for every subsequent hour.