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"Salmon" is probably not the best metaphor

Great adaptation. I saw the list. One thing that stuck out was that Lincoln Park station was the only one in NE. (as an "empty" station). But there are no "full" stations defined for all of NE. C'mon, CaBi! We need somewhere to get the bikes *from* if we're going to ride them *to* Lincoln Park.

Also, 19th and E Capitol looks to be as frequently empty as Lincoln Park.

Ah, looks like N Capitol & F is the closest...

The name is a misnomer. A "Rewards" program usually provides a per-activity incentive that is guaranteed. This is really a "contest" or "competition," with little hope of a payout -- and thus, little incentive -- for a casual user that might occasionally be free and able to reposition a bike.

A real "rewards" system would incentivize all users of CaBi to reposition when convenient. The rewards could all be in the system, but need not be as dramatic as the contest prizes. For instance, most of us have out-of-town visitors who we encourage to buy day memberships. 10 repositions = a free day membership to give out would be a great "reward."

Sounds like a good start. I have a few criticsms:

1. Why only 8-10am? Why not earlier and also the pm commute?
2. The rewards seem too uncertain and intangible to make any significant change in behaviour. CaBi has very real costs in repositioning bikes, so why not offer a reward that is closer to their costs and more immediate? A fleet of "reverse commuters" (motivated by free membership) could save CaBi a lot.

@SJE; from what I can tell, CABI has little to no incentive on repositioning. Alta does.

Really? Criticisms already? Sigh.

Washcycle: in the bike realm, there are so many things that are only done with half measures, fail, and then are used as evidence that no one bikes, and makes our optimism seem naive.

Let's put it this way: the value of the membership incentives for this contest are $506.25 over the three months. Judging from the reaction, the people here think that CaBi's rebalancing woes require a slightly more ambitious solution.


Here's one explanation for why they're doing the contest.

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/10622/station-expansion-and-reverse-rider-rewards-could-address-capital-bikeshare-capacity-needs/#comment-101654

the question is, will people go for this like they did with the winter warrior contest? if the answer is yes, then, this will probably make a noticable difference for the morning commuters.

but what about the pm? i think that's when more people are likely to want to take a non-commute related ride, like running errands, going out after work, etc., but many stations in residential areas are full at night from the returning commuters. (speaking specifically of lamont plaza.)

Thanks for the clarification re Alta v CaBi.

I probably won't participate in this contest because I'm rarely in the U St/Mt. Pleasant areas, but it sounds interesting. I don't think the contest is meant to solve all of the balancing issues by itself. It's a way of contributing to the usefulness of the system. Maybe a very minor way, but that doesn't seem to be such a big problem.

The expansion of the system will have much more of an effect, depending on where the new stations are placed. It seems like the contest is more of a short-term measure, to help solve some of the problems while the system expansion is underway.

If the contest fails to have much of an effect, then they can always sweeten the pot. That's what they did with the Winter Weather Warrior contest, by adding more prizes in the final weeks. I'd expect them to do something similar if there is little interest in the contest.

I wouldn't want them giving away the store on the contest. While $500 won't have a major effect on the system's finances, if they offered significantly more awards, then some of the lost revenue might take away from the money available for station expansion.

At the very least, I'm glad that they are responsive to user input and trying new ways to fix some of the growing pains. CaBi is still in its first 12 months of existence. Very few complex systems work out all of the bugs in their first year. There's room for improvement but I'm still pleased with what they've accomplished so far.

I think we should resist wonky incentive-based tinkering. Bikeshare systems should be simple.

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