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Very dubious of the Rockville plans. Clearly they haven't been talking with Cabi.

Again, covering the membership fee for low-income commuters is a fine idea. I will point out that it might deter middle class users. But covering the "user fees" is a bad idea -- and goes against the entire idea of bikesharing.

Yes, having a credit/debit card is a deterrent to using bikeshare. And yes, the user fees are also a deterrent. But in both cases, that is by design.

It may be that they just haven't really though this through, and want to find any way to get bikesharing to Rockville. But I really don't know if the backend system could accommodate users w/o credit card information or the ability to bill said cards.

(an easy way, I guess, is get a prepaid Visa card for $125, charge $75 for the membership, and say, ok, you've got $50 to spend on users fees this year. What would happen when that prepaid card ran out -- can Cabi/Alta/BIXI figure that out ?)

Charlie: the advantage of requiring a credit card, even a prepaid one, is that those who fail to pay get pursued by the credit card issuers and not CaBi.

@SJE; true, but what happens to your CABI account after your CC is rejected.

Let's say I generate $3.50 in charges for this month. CABI bills me, the credit card authorization does not go through -- and then what happens. CABI is owed $3.50, not the issuer, and presumably would suspend my account.

CABI and alta seem to have a limited ability to tinker with the backend BIXI software, and I have a feeling the Rockville people aren't taking that into account.

I agree that bikeshare is incompatible with a fee structure that imposes no penalty on users for late returns or lost bikes. Perhaps one thing that the Rockville experiment could add is an examination of how to better incorporate low-income riders.

The biggest barrier to CABI and low-income people isn't the cost or the fees. It is that you really need a smartphone and smartcycle to use the system.

More stations would help -- some -- but you almost always have to check your smartphone now before leaving to make sure your destination station isn't filled up.

And a smartphone will cost you a minimum of $60 to $75 a month.

I do not have a smart phone nor do I use my friends' smartphones to check the app. I check online before I leave to see which station at my destination I have the best bet of finding a dock... So internet access? Yes. Smartphone requirement? No.

I don't think you need a smartphone to use CaBi. My brother-in-law uses CaBi to get to work every day, and he doesn't own a smartphone. I never check mine before heading out. It's nice, but it's not a barrier - and certainly not the biggest.

Credit card ownership is a real barrier. Physical health is a real barrier. Lack of a smartphone is not.

@Washcycle; as you have repeatedly stated, you never have problems finding or a bike or a dock, and I'd argue your experience is somewhat different than most users.

CABI does allow debit cards, which almost all banks can now issue on a checking account. there is the issue of the "unbanked" -- and I suspect that is a big driver of EOTR problems -- but the Rockville program is aimed at low-income commuters. If you have a regular job, you probably have a bank account. It's Mexicans and seasonally employed that don't have bank accounts.

@David F-H; plenty of people do not have internet at work, and can't check the computer before heading out. Shocker, I know.

I'd argue your experience is somewhat different than most users.

Most docks have both bikes and spaces. Even docks that don't aren't that way for very long. People complain about dockblocking, but I doubt it is actually an issue on even 10% of all trips/attempts.

It's Mexicans and seasonally employed that don't have bank accounts.

Every time @charlie types the word "Mexican" and El Salvadorean day laborer gets a job.

The fact is that you can use CaBi without a smartphone. You can not use it without a credit card/debit card.

It was already odd to read about CaBi in Rockville and Shady Grove, and to have it paid for with non-transportation funds. Now it seems that they didn't even talk to CaBi or DDOT before issuing a public statement. Doesn't look so good for that proposal up in Shady Grove.

Clearly they haven't been talking with Cabi.

Now it seems that they didn't even talk to CaBi or DDOT before issuing a public statement.

This is not my impression at all. I think it is clear they have not worked out everthing. But there is a long distance from not doing anything and not doing everything. Some of the groundwork was obviously laid during the TIGER application process that would have included CaBi in Montgomery County.

have it paid for with non-transportation funds.

This is money from FTA, how is non-transportation funds?

@washcycle The downtown docks that are the terminus of the heaviest traveled north south routes in the system - the sites closest in a rough halo to the west, north, and east of the White House - were filled up and sat filled for 45 minutes as I wandered fruitlessly looking for a dock on my 9:00 am swing downtown this week. Not dispositive I know, it was a nice biking weather day - 10% of the system sounds about right but what a visible 10 % it is...

Re: full stations. Part of the difference between experiences is when people commute. I get to the office by 8:00 every morning, so I have never had an issue with a full station downtown.

The downtown stations tend to fill up as rush hour progresses, and so people who have later work hours are likely to face full destination stations (at least in the 8:30-9:30 timeframe, before those stations are rebalanced).

On the "origin station" side, people who live in the Dupont-Logan-Adams Morgan-Columbia Heights corridor, and those in Hill East tend to face empty stations with some frequency. Most other riders don't.

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