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"... but bikeshare is still an incredibly cheap way to get around - if used frequently"

A critical problem with bikeshare is just this. $15 for 3 days? Sure, as you look more towards the longer durations there is a tradeoff, but for those unwilling to make the long term commitment its no cheaper than Metro.

I will say though that the added number of bikers in the DC area has other benefits. You mention things like the reduced congestion, but even the more noticeable stuff like more bike lanes and the work done on the metropolitian branch trail helps increase riders. But even at $75 a year (or $84 with monthly payments) some people may just see it as a better option to to go Target / Wal Mart / Ebay and buy a bike.

RE: survey, the self reported nature makes any speculation on it weaker. That includes the commuters benefits as well.

RE: price, I'd say they have it right. Again, not meant to be used as a commuter bike.

I don't think it is true that CaBi isn't meant to be used for commuting. If it were, they wouldn't have stations around Metro stations and business centers. I even seem to recall their site suggesting commuting use.

The price seems okay for those that don't want to hassle with their own bikes for whatever reason. Allowing use without a credit card might help some in the demographic area, but after that, to some extent it seems a lot of hand-wringing over nothing. You offer the service, and those localities and people who want to use it do, and those who don't, don't.

@DE: let's examine this premise & say that cabi is for general errand running & last mile connectivity rather than for commuting. Why wouldn't you put the stations near metro and business centers?

It happens to work for a tiny percentage of commuters, especially those with non-traditional commuting patterns. If more people try to use it for commuting, especially for traditional commutes, it will break. There is no way to scale bike sharing to take on any significant fraction of the 10s of thousands of people who take metro. There's also no good reason to try to put 10k people onto bikes when there's a functional heavy rail system connecting the same two points.

Where cabi shines is when there is no direct transit between two points (which ideally means that demand between those points is too low to support transit or that they are too close to justify transit) or to shorten a trip which could otherwise be walked.

Fair enough that it can't take the place of 10k Metro riders, but I wasn't saying that it would. I was wondering about the belief held by many that it's not for commuting, when clearly people here at my work and elsewhere do use it for commuting. I checked the CaBi site, btw, and it says "Check out a bike for your trip to work, Metro, run errands, go shopping, or visit friends and family." So they seem to want to market it toward all of those groups.

I don't use it myself since I have bikes of my own I'd rather use, but I love when I see people in business suits or skirts tooling around town on them. I think it helps make the whole town more bike-friendly, and enforces the message that anyone can bike downtown, in any attire.

@DE: it's something you can use cabi for an exception basis. If you want to commute to work every day on a bike, you're generally better off just buying a bike. Anybody can do what they want, but people who set themselves up to depend on a cabi for commuting purposes should expect little to no sympathy when there's no bike available.

...for those unwilling to make the long term commitment its no cheaper than Metro.

CaBi makes it pretty easy to get a free one-day membership for residents looking to try it out.

Just one more link to add to your curation - http://www.peopleforbikes.org/blog/entry/capital-bikeshare-wants-to-reverse-trend-of-older-wealthier-whiter-membersh

If you don't have an indoor storage place for your bike and do not want to leave your bike outside all day, cabi can be a good option for commuting.

Interesting survey, but the results aren't quite as breathtaking as reported. That's because they invited all of their 30-day/yearly users to take the survey and achieved a 16% response rate. There's an unknown bias caused by who chose to respond.

Informative, but the caveats around the survey are sizable.

I wish CaBi would publish a map showing the locations of members.

Another reason for the "graying" of membership might be that early adopters were more likely to be transplants to the area without a car and possibly not owning a bike, which tend to be younger. So they immediately saw the utility.

Older people inclined to bike already had a bike--and perhaps even were storing a bike in more than one location. As the system expanded and time passed, the benefits of CaBi seem more advantageous even to people with a few bikes.

Good point about the suburban expansion, particularly in Montgomery County.

The credit card requirement appears to be a major obstacle to greater usage EOTR.

I'm not sure why the membership has become more male though. I don't think the gender demographics are that different in Montgomery Co. or Alexandria.

As for commuting, even though some may say that the system was not designed for commuting, the fact remains that commuting to/from downtown DC has been one of the primary drivers of usage since the system started (or shortly after it started). Another major driver is tourist short-term memberships for use on the National Mall.

CaBi/Motivate/DC/Arlington understand this. This is why Motivate will be setting up regular bike corrals downtown in the coming weeks. They plan to run the CaBi bike corrals at two locations in downtown DC (exact locations to be determined). Every regular weekday from 7:30 to 10:30 am.

They know that they should not ignore the needs of CaBi commuters. At the same time, of course it won't replace Metro. Very few people would be willing to bike from Shady Grove, Springfield or Vienna to downtown DC. But many people from DC and Arlington can and do commute on CaBi to downtown DC and other office centers.

As for the cost savings, someone doesn't need to use the system the entire year to realize significant savings.

An annual membership costs $75 (although it will increase to $85 on May 1). So $85 is the better number to use.

Metro fares can vary according to the distance of the trip. Say that a typical medium-distance Metro trip costs $2.50 during peak hours. A two-way trip would be $5. One week of two-way trips is $25.

So a person would only need to use CaBi (as an annual member) for about 3.5 weeks to break even. That's not what I would call a long-term commitment or even regular CaBi commuting. Even a casual user who bike-commutes occasionally would likely come out ahead with an annual membership.

As for the cost savings between CaBi and buying a personal bike, do not underestimate the costs of bike maintenance for a personal bike. If you ride a lot, tires will wear down. Brake pads will wear out. Tubes will wear out. Cables will stretch. Gears will wear down.

Based on what I read from many on the BikeArlington Forum, most regular riders will spend more than $85 a year on bike maintenance if they use a personal bike frequently.

Individual usage and maintenance costs will vary. But in many if not most cases, it will be less expensive to use CaBi on a regular basis than to use a personal bike, whether that is a low-end or high-end bike. Bike parts break down and wear out. They need to be repaired or replaced. That costs money.

I think when people say "Cabi is not for commuting" they aren't saying that commuters don't or can't use the system. Obviously they do.

It's more of a critique of folks who expect to be able to grab a bike for their everyday commute in to the city core in the morning, have a place to park it, and be able to do the reverse in the evening. And who--when they come to find it doesn't work that way--complain that the system is broken.

If you expect to use Cabi in that way, you're bound for disappointment.

Folks,did anyone read the DCist article?

"But the survey, of which 16 percent (4,314) of Bikeshare's nearly 28,000 members completed,"

16%. How can you draw any relevant conclusions from less than 1/4 response? Guess what my conclusion is? Only retired old farts like me had the time to waste to fill out a survey.

16% is a phenomenally high response rate. It may still be biased, but the problem isn't that people didn't respond.

First,16% is seriously "phenomenally high"? If that's high for most surveys,then I'm pretty much ignoring every survey result I see from now on. You really can't get anything useful from that. It's like using just SW to determine what to do in all of DC.

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