Over on PoP, several readers and PoP himself have complained that the system isn't reliable enough to call it a success.
Personally I’ve also been frustrated with the system. Sometimes I feel like the people who run CaBi at DDOT are a little bit too self congratulatory. The idea of the system is awesome. The system today sucks. Far too many people are unable to get bikes when they want them. Yet other stations seem hardly touched. I even had one reader write that they were considering getting a bike a half hour early – taking it to their apartment so they’d the have one for their commute.
Depending on where you live and where you're trying to go, you may feel the same way. One commenter reported changing their work schedule by 45 minutes to have a better chance of getting a bike, but she's still not able to get one reliably.
If DDOT/CaBi could choose between having too many users, and not enough, I'm pretty sure they'd choose too many, so this is a nice problem to have. But the problem isn't as bad as some make it out. When you look at station availabilty, most stations are available most of the time, but that is less true during rush hour. And to address it they continue to add docks and now, I heard, a third van and rebalancing team. If that isn't enough, Tommy Wells is trying to get another $2 million in capital funding added to the budget to add 40 new stations on top of the ones already announced.
So, I disagree with Dan that the system sucks or it's not a success. It doesn't do what he wants it to do, but membership and ridership are really high, I think it's been much more successful that people predicted 7 months ago. It's like the old Yogi Bera line about Coney Island "no one goes there anymore, it's too crowded."
Furthermore, it appears to be a financial success. Chirs Holben was quoted in USA Today saying "it aims to fund itself within a couple of years." I'm guessing he would not be saying that if revenue was low. If it does fund itself, that is a very big deal for a transit system.
And It's getting people out of their cars
Gas prices are sitting at $3.96 cents a gallon, and much more in parts of our area. That’s pushing some, like Isaac Nuell, to try out bike sharing services.
Nuell is trading his car keys for a bike badge. "With $4 a gallon it’s just not driving around. You know you just can't afford it, so taking the bike for 30 minutes doesn't cost anything, so why not?" Nuell said.
So, if success is "I can always get a bike when I want it and always park it in my desired station" then it isn't a success. But that's a pretty high standard, and not one that driving or transit can measure up to. About the only thing that can is...a personal bike. But if success is many people using the system, while it makes money and changing the way people get around from driving to a cleaner, healthier mode, then it is a success.