Washington, DC was the first city in the United States to launch a bike-sharing program with the now defunct “SmartBike” in 2008 and now it has the most comprehensive bike-sharing network in the country with “Capital Bikeshare“. (You can see one of my old co-workers on the site as the picture of a wonderful, fresh, healthy resident.)
You can sign up online for a day, a month, or a year. Since I live in Pittsburgh, I decided the best option for me, right now is to join for a day at a time, just $5 a day.
Step 1: Insert your credit or debit card.
Tip: They recommend using a credit card because they put a $100 hold on your card. I didn’t know this at the time, but the hold can take up to 10 days to release back into your account. So that’s something to consider if your budget is tight and you don’t have a credit card available.
Step 2: The machine will display or print out a five digit code for you. This is the number that you enter into the docking station for the bicycle you are going to rent.
Tip: When removing the bike from the station, lift up the bicycle a few inches in the back and it will roll out easily. If you just try to pull it straight back, it will not come out.
Step 3. Ride the bike to your destination, lock it into a docking station and go about your business. Try to make every ride less than 30 minutes because then it is free.
I’ve heard from people that the pricing is “complicated” or “difficult”. But it’s really not. The number one thing to remember is to keep your trips under 30 minutes, and then you won’t have to pay anything for individual trips.
Memberships fees & Basics
24 hour membership = $5 (+$100 hold)
30 day membership =$25
One year membership = $75
If you live in Washington, DC, the $75 membership fee clearly makes sense.
The first half hour of every ride is free.
There are 1100 bikes and nearly 100 active stations (they are installing the final stations right now.) Click here to see a map of all the stations.
1. Bike-sharing helps add to a diversity of transportation options
2. Bike-sharing is affordable
1. Bike-sharing memberships should be given to those receiving unemployment. By providing a $25 increased monthly benefit, the DOES could help reduce the burden of transportation costs for those who are most in need of saving money
2. Bike-sharing memberships could be offered as part of medicaid benefits in an attempt to get more people active
3. Bike-sharing could offer trikes for older adults or those who have difficulty with mobility or balance. See Portland’s program for getting older residents to ride bikes again. And see how happy and independent it makes the senior citizens to ride bikes and be able to move freely
Print maps of the stations — don’t put the burden of information on the individual