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I like that the MTA is getting the concept of tying them to permenant transit stops. That bike looks all the more tempting when your late and the bus never shows up or the Red line is closed for some emergency or accident. What's missing here, besides the density and the trial passes, is also dedicated high-capacity protected bike tracks between smartbike stations - a strategy used in some other cities. Borrow from the the shopping mall parking lot ethic - build the facility for the maximum visitor capacity. Anyone remember Inauguration day? In practice putting a station every 200 to 400 meters has been a smashing success with automated systems and trial passes. In practice, when the red line is down, Smart Bike should have the redundant capacity to take up the slack.

Can't wait to see the map and exact locations.

When do we get to see this map???

I don't know. I guess when Planning and DDOT are done with it.

Lee Watkins' comment about grabbing a bike instead of taking the bus or Metro has me thinking. We tend to think in terms of bikes vs. cars, but isn't it more likely that Smartbike is competing with public transit? Both concentrate resources in the high density parts of DC where it's really a pain to drive and park. The pricing structures are relatively similar (compared to the massive capital outlays on a car), etc...

This NY Times article describes the effect of increase in transit fares on interest in cycling:

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/24/before-hitting-the-road-on-two-wheels/

I don't think that bike sharing competes with public transit, although I suppose a minimal number of trips are interdicted as a result.

People who want to bike rather than take public transit buy bicyles and customize them to meet their needs.

So as much as I write about transit, by far a majority of the trips I make (unless I am with my girlfriend) are on _my_ bicycle.

The idea is that sharing bikes are more about what you might call "the last mile" about getting from transit to your final destination, if the distance is significant.

Although we need to do a study of the riders/members of the system and see what their behavior is, at least conduct a few interviews.

Richard Layman,

I agree that the principle behind bike sharing is that bikes get you "the last mile," but this is where the density issue comes into play again. As long as the density of stations is less than or roughly the same as the number of Metro stations and in roughly the same area (I'm not even considering buses, here), the bike network provides little added value.

I'm sure that some people ride SmartBike instead of taking Metro. It also pilfers from other cyclists (I know I'll ride SmartBike instead of my bike just to save on the wear and tear) and pedestrians. If you polled SmartBike users you'd probably find few who'd say "If it weren't for SmartBike I would have driven." Even after the expansion that will be true. Though I suspect many would say they would've taken a taxi.

But getting people off of Metro (rail and bus) for short trips can free up space\speed up travel on Metro for those making longer trips - and that can get people out of cars.

WC,

Agreed. I just think that the benefit of SmartBike is much less than what it *could* be. (The same, by the way, is true of Metro, which would have a much greater impact on the region if the fares weren't so high.)

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