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The single biggest impediment to my (more) frequent usage of the system is having a companion with me, during the day or evening. I have a key that I use infrequently (~20-25 times a year), but if I could have a "buddy pass", where the person with me could also ride to our destination for, say $1.50 for the first half hour, billed to my key, I would use it easily 2-3x as much as I do now. There's no point in getting a $7.00 daily membership for a 15 minute ride (could take a taxi), but there are lots of bikes available after dinner downtown - very frustrating.

I agree with the analysis. Annual membership is $75, and daily is $10 (7$ renewal): i.e. a week of daily memberships. Annual membership seems a steal if you are riding everyday. I think that the unlimited usage should be MUCH higher, and that $75 gets you (say), 150 rides, which is still extremely cheap and probably reflects actual costs.

Thats why Paris charges 1 euro for a daily membership.

US day fees are atrocious.

"This is the equivalent of someone touching their toe onto the platform from the subway car while stopped at a station and not having to pay for the remainder of their trip."

To me, it's like getting off one bus and getting on another with a free transfer - which WMATA does allow. (and many other transit systems do for rail as well)

" Other modes tend to have either a fee per trip or a week/month pass with unlimited ridership."

That's a pretty big *or*. There's very little conceptional or practical difference between an annual pass and a monthly one - just a matter of administration and convenience. If the powers that be want to raise the annual fee level, I really don't think it's going to make much of difference in the demand curve.

Raising the fee per ride, though (by shortening the 'free' minutes and/or stopping dock hopping) will significantly alter ridership patterns. (It will destroy Alexandria's system in its current, nascent form, and isolate Arlington from DC - and North Arlington from South Arlington)

I have an annual membership but do not work thus do not commute. I would welcome a program that offered a lower or no annual fee and $1 per ride or so. But with $1 ride I think the duration would need to be enough to get where yo are going (as you can by bus) so the duration would need to be longer than 30 minutes or limited checkin-checkout would need to be permitted.

One difference to remember is that in DC many companies and the federal government will subsidise the cost of bus/rail passes for their employees, but Bike Share is not a traditional mass transit system so it doesn't accept Mass Transit Benefits. If I could touch my Smartrip Card to a CaBi kiosk for a bike, I wouldn't mind paying a per trip fee.

Even 15 cents a trip would double the fee for the daily user but probably not discourage justified use. A $50 annual fee seems about right to me.

A couple points.

1. This is Arlington, not DC. The numbers will be very different. I don't think there is such a barrier to membership in DC.

2. You've got to account for annual members know who like having a fob who would switch over to seasonal billing.

3. I think the problem is basically CABI is subsidized by tourists. And DC is capturing a much much larger part of that tourist revenue. I'd say a more equitable split would help surbanize the system more. Outside the tourists money flow, Arlington (and now MD) will either need higher annual fees and/or a larger subsidy.

I'm an avid bike share user, but also own my own bike. The annual fee is the only way I'd pay for this service.

Biking is so very different than bus/train/taxis, etc. because the barrier to purchase a bike is far lower than purchasing a vehicle to replace the bus/train/taxi usage. ($100 for a decent bike vs. $10,000 for a used car + another few thousand for annual maintenance, gas, parking, etc.)

I'd stop using bike share if such a user fee was implemented, as I would imagine many others. 60 rides a year, at $1 a ride gets you closer to buying your own bike.

" Other modes tend to have either a fee per trip or a week/month pass with unlimited ridership."

Some other things I thought of, reading this again via GGW.

That's a pretty big "or". Conceptually and practically, there really isn't much of difference between a monthly pass and an annual pass - just a difference in administration and billing. (true, weekly is another matter).

I don't think there would be much an affect on the demand curve if the powers that be decide to increase the fee for annual memberships - either directly or by converting them into monthly members that cumulatively cost more per year.

Changing the per fee ride, though, -either by shortening/eliminating the number of 'free' minutes, or stopping dock hopping, or some combo of both - is a very different thing.

This would imo, destroy the nascent system in Alexandria, and completely separate the DC system from the Arlington one - and the North Arlington one from the South Arlington one.

"beyond that we should have in place a fee per trip model as well and charge a fee that is lower than, but relative to other modes of transit within the respective region."

I believe there is strong evidence that the primary mode of transport that CaBi has been replacing is *walking*. The 3/4-1 mile near 20 minute walk to the metro is now a 5-7 minute ride. Plus induced demand for trips now much more feasible at 7-10 mph than 2-3 mph.

CaBi is, to a very large extent, competing with a mode that it already free. (and on the other margin, competing with those that will just use their own bikes)

" I think the problem is basically CABI is subsidized by tourists"

Nope! Even the tourist rides are subsidized. Isnt that grand? We taxpayers are paying for tourists to ride around the mall. Seems like maybe that should be reserved to private commercial enterprises.

And yet places like Boulder have found that, by reducing the marginal cost of additional trips (particularly off-peak) to zero, annual passes work wonders for transit. I do agree that the marginal cost of the first trip is too high (in time and money); that pricing may have been a way to stave off CC transaction fees at the start.

I think of the system as a "walk extender," particularly since stations here aren't every block.

think about the customer you're designing the system for. it's not designed for tourists or leisurely rides (who pay their fair share). instead, it's for commuters. the comparison to riding a bus is spot on. if i need to transfer on a bus, i don't pay two fares. if my cabi bike commute is longer then 30 minutes, i should be able to complete my trip by docking and retrieving a new bike to finish the trip.

one of the benefits of cabi is the annual membership. i pay one time per year and don't think about it again. i take well more than 75 trips a year, so my cost per trip is very low. however, my husband takes less than 50 trips per year so there's a balance. if the fee changed to charge per trip, i would revert to my one seat ride on metro that is paid for by my employer and severely reduce my cabi rides. for the short trips, walking the 15 minutes instead of biking 5-7 would be more appealing again.

Wilbur wrote: "Even the tourist rides are subsidized. Isnt that grand?"

I'd love to know the basis for that claim. In any case we are already subsidizing their driving, bus and metro rides. Why should CaBi be different (other than that it may have the opportunity to do so, so why not).

Personally, I think CaBi should be programmed to allow people to, optionally, buy a fob for $10 and ride on a fee-per-ride basis. This would be another option--people who like the membership approach could still do that. I also like "Joe in SS"'s idea of a companion bike (for a fee). They would get more $$$ out of me if they did that.

" the comparison to riding a bus is spot on. if i need to transfer on a bus, i don't pay two fares. if my cabi bike commute is longer then 30 minutes, i should be able to complete my trip by docking and retrieving a new bike to finish the trip."

Except you are not switching buses to save money. You're transferring from one bus to another because the one you were on does not go where you want. You're switching bikes solely to get a free ride, because the bike you were riding will take you where you want to go.


" think about the customer you're designing the system for. it's not designed for tourists or leisurely rides (who pay their fair share). instead, it's for commuters."

Is it? If biking is your primary way of commuting, why wouldn't you want your own bike? It would be cheaper and your starting/stopping points are not limited, either.

If Cabi raised its rates, I can understand why its cheaper to get your own bike, but that only works if Cabi is basically cheap bike rental. For lots of people it offers the convenience of using a bike without the hassle and worry of having it stolen. It allows you to integrate biking into a trip that also uses bus, train etc, which currently do not cater to bikes.

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