Despite issues with the placement of some stations, CaBi seems to be doint quite well so far. They just signed up their 2000th member (SmartBike had only 1696), the federal goverment is going to give some employees free access, people seem to find it easy to use, and it's already reached the level of usage of SmartBike (1 trip per bike per day).
For Justin Young, 22, Capital Bikeshare has already become his main mode of transportation. The Adams Morgan resident, who doesn't own a bike, has hopped on one every day.
Yonah Freemark at the Transport Politic doesn't think this will do much to reduce driving.
Despite what is often said about investments in bike sharing, the program is unlikely to dramatically reduce rates of automobile use in the nation’s capital. A review of similar systems suggests that only five to ten percent of trips made on public bikes would have otherwise been made by car. Indeed, the vast majority of travel replaces transit or walking trips. This means that from the standpoint of reducing carbon emissions or eliminating traffic, bike sharing doesn’t seem likely to produce many significant benefits directly.
Actually, the study he cites shows a that between 6% and 10% of trips would have been made by automobile along with around 5% that would have been made by taxi.
In Lyon's Velo'v system, bike sharing is replacing approximately 700,000 car trips a year. Paris' Velib system is replacing approximately 2,160,000 motor vehicle trips a year. These figures do not include bike sharing users who buy a personal bike and began biking for a wider diversity of trips.
That seems dramatic to me. I seem to recall that it only take a very small reduction in car traffic to make a large change in congestion. Furthermore, 34% to 65% of trips come off of transit. Our transit system is, in places, near capacity, so this frees up space on transit for new users. Some people transition from transit to CaBi. Others from car to transit.
But he does recognize that reducing car trips is not the only - or even primary - goal of the system. If people use it, who cares what they used to do beforehand? The use of the system proves its value.
And he recognizes that CaBi makes it easier to go car free. When I switched to the car free lifestyle, zipcar and bike-racks-on-buses played a big role in that decision, even though I rarely used either. They created security for me. I suspect CaBi will do the same with others. [I later married into a car and now live car light].