DCentric » Capital Bikeshare http://dcentric.wamu.org Race, Class, The District. Wed, 16 May 2012 20:20:35 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 Copyright © WAMU How to Get Low-Income People Bike-Sharing http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/12/how-to-get-low-income-people-bike-sharing/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/12/how-to-get-low-income-people-bike-sharing/#comments Mon, 26 Dec 2011 19:07:47 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=13012 Continue reading ]]>

DDOT DC / Flickr

Bike-sharing may be one of the cheapest methods of public transportation in D.C., but you can’t use a bike without a credit card. That poses a big challenge in the District, where more than 12 percent of households are unbanked, meaning they don’t have access to financial instruments like bank accounts.

D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare launched a program this month to get more people credit cards so they can use the bikes, The Atlantic Cities reports:

Capital Bikeshare partnered with United Bank, the District Government Employees Federal Credit Union, and Bank on DC, a collaborative between the city, local financial institutions and non-profits working to provide greater access to financial products in the District. Residents can open a Bank on DC account with none of the minimum balances or monthly fees that frequently serve as an obstacle.

Through Bank on DC, Capital Bikeshare will offer a discounted $50 annual membership to residents who don’t currently use a bank but sign up for a debit or credit account through either the District employees credit union or United Bank.

Increasing access to credit cards is only one way to get more low-income people riding. Capital Bikeshare works best when bike stations are clustered together. Stations east of the Anacostia River, in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods, are fewer in number and spread further apart than in wealthier and denser sections of Northwest. But access east of the river is improving; in May, there were nine stations, and now there are 13.

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Capital Bikeshare Expansion: Who Should Get New Stations? http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/05/capital-bikeshare-expansion-who-should-get-new-stations/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/05/capital-bikeshare-expansion-who-should-get-new-stations/#comments Tue, 24 May 2011 19:43:08 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=7329 Continue reading ]]>

Flickr: Rudi Riet

Greater Greater Washington has mapped out Capital Bikeshare usage ahead of Wednesday night’s public meeting on the system’s expansion.

The District Department of Transportation is poised to expand Capital Bikeshare by 25 new stations this summer, choosing from a list of 55 candidates. Of those 55, five are east of the Anacostia River, in the District’s poorest wards.

The least-used of the existing stations are almost all located east of the Anacostia:

Of course we’d expect the stations in the middle to be used the most. Likewise is true of Metro. That doesn’t mean that the peripheral bikeshare stations or Metro stations aren’t useful.

And it makes sense that peripheral stations would be used less given that bikeshare works best when stations are clustered together — the fewer the stations nearby, the less the usage. Adding more east of the river could be one way to increase usage of the existing stations, although doing so doesn’t address the other obstacles that prevent lower-income residents from using the bikes.

Given the documented low usage of the existing stations some fear calls to abandon the program altogether in parts of Wards 7 and 8. Groups such as the Washington Area Bicyclist Association are actively working to encourage bicycling among Ward 7 and 8 residents, and DDOT has no plans of giving up in those neighborhoods. But whether they’ll be able to expand there when there is so much demand elsewhere is another matter.

Wednesday’s meeting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m., at 441 4th St., NW, Room 1107.

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Capital Bikeshare: 5 New Stations May Go East of the River http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/04/capital-bikeshare-5-new-stations-may-go-east-of-the-river/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/04/capital-bikeshare-5-new-stations-may-go-east-of-the-river/#comments Wed, 20 Apr 2011 19:12:36 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=5947 Continue reading ]]> Captial Bikeshare is poised to expand by 25 stations and the District Department of Transportation released a map today showing potential sites for the expansion of the system.

The new stations will be picked out of a list of 55 possibilities, including five sites East of the River in Wards 7 and 8. Why so few proposed sites in such a large swath of the District?

Part of the reason seems to be the amount of density needed to support stations, as well as demand. It’s well documented that use is low East of the River and the demand in Downtown is quite high. We spoke with DDOT spokesman John Lisle a few weeks ago to get more thoughts on how the agency will pick where bike stations go, and he said there are definitely “competing interests” at hand.


Few stations exist East of the Anacosita River (in red).

First, there’s the need for infill stations downtown. “We need to expand the size of some of our stations and we need to add more stations to really meet the demand there because that’s where it’s the highest,” Lisle said. And boy, is demand high.

And then there’s the desire to add more stations in the outer neighborhoods to create a citywide system and give greater accessibility to more people. But doing so can be tricky.

“I think one of the things you have to acknowledge is that somebody who is already into cycling, or say lives in Columbia Heights, a young professional, has a credit card, commutes downtown — it all makes sense from there. For some people, it’s much easier to buy into or use the system. For them, it’s like this great thing, ‘I’ve been waiting for this,’” Lisle said. “In other parts of the city, we may have to do more work in terms of educating people as far as what is bikeshare, why are we putting these bikes on the street, how can you use it.”

Education is a major factor playing into low usage, and bike advocacy group Washington Area Bicyclist Association already has plans to conduct more outreach around bikesharing in neighborhoods East of the Anacostia River. And there are several other reasons for low usage, including the cost ($75 for a year membership) and few stations (10 in total) located far apart. Capital Bikeshare works best when a group of stations are close to one another — if they’re few and far apart, there’s less incentive to use the bikes.

Another obstacle may be the need for a credit card to register, but Lisle said DDOT is in the process of working on a program that would allow some riders to use the bikes even if they don’t have a credit card.

Although it may be tempting to pull existing stations or not install new ones East of the River, DDOT doesn’t plan to abandon bikesharing in parts of Wards 7 and 8 — sure, only five new stations are proposed in that part of town, but at the same time, only two new stations have been proposed for Georgetown.

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