Docked bicycle service Capital Bikeshare notched a decade of service in D.C. late final month.
Metropolis officers have installed 5 Capital Bikeshare stations with 60 bike docks throughout the Foggy Backside Campus amid station expansions, the debut of electrical bikes and the rollout of scholar reductions within the decade-long improvement of this system, which started Sept. 20, 2010. College spokesperson Crystal Nosal mentioned the system has created new methods of commuting to and round campus, including that officers hope to proceed working with college students and group members to broaden scholar entry to this system sooner or later.
“D.C. authorities’s bicycle grasp plan notes many advantages of enhancing handy entry to bicycle-sharing companies to the GW group, together with addressing the area’s main supply of air air pollution by reducing congestion for roads, easing burdens on crowded common native transit companies and growing equitable, wholesome and inexpensive transportation choices,” she mentioned in an e mail.
Capital Bikeshare officers didn’t return a request for remark.
Marina Streznewski, the president of the Foggy Backside Affiliation, mentioned Capital Bikeshare has been “an vital a part of the transportation system” within the native neighborhood close to campus. She mentioned program officers ought to encourage riders to put on helmets and distribute extra security data in years forward.
Streznewski mentioned Capital Bikeshare is “a lot safer” than different bike-sharing programs as a result of the docking stations guarantee bikes don’t grow to be obstacles scattered throughout the sidewalk – a security concern locals have voiced in recent times.
“I like Capital Bikeshare a complete lot greater than I just like the dockless bikes and scooters, which wind up everywhere in the sidewalks,” she mentioned. “The truth that the Capital Bikeshare has a dock I believe makes it a a lot safer sort of system.”
Right here’s how in the present day’s community of Capital Bikeshare stations got here to campus:
Capital Bikeshare was preceded by an identical program referred to as SmartBike DC, which launched in 2008 with 120 bikes and 10 stations, one located simply outdoors of the GW Hospital. About 1,600 individuals joined as members inside its first two years, in response to the Capital Bikeshare website.
District officers initiated the Capital Bikeshare program in 2010 by a partnership with metropolis officers from Arlington, Virginia, unveiling a collection of 100 stations within the District that will collectively maintain about 1,100 bikes. District Division of Transportation officers chosen three websites for Capital Bikeshare stations on campus – one on the current station in entrance of GW Hospital, one other station at 1959 E St. and a 3rd outdoors The Retailers at 2000 Penn.
Through the years, D.C. officers and neighborhood leaders have labored to broaden Capital Bikeshare’s presence round GW’s campus, each in Foggy Backside and close to the Mount Vernon Campus.
Metropolis officers installed a bike-sharing station with 16 bike slots in entrance of Duques Corridor in 2017.
A yr later, Capital Bikeshare opened one other station with 16 docks close to the Vern. College students mentioned on the time that the brand new addition supplied higher entry to a technique of transportation than the Mount Vernon Categorical.
The Foggy Backside and West Finish Advisory Neighborhood Fee continued the push for Capital Bikeshare’s regular growth final yr. ANC commissioners passed a decision urgent the D.C. authorities so as to add extra bikes to stations on campus.
Metropolis officers have found new methods to reinforce Capital Bikeshare in newer years.
DDOT officers created a $25 scholar go final yr that supplied college students at D.C.-area universities one yr of discounted entry to the Capital Bikeshare system. Whereas common membership would value $85, officers signed the deal final August to present college students higher bike entry for the whole tutorial yr.
Nosal mentioned officers started discussing the low cost plan with the Pupil Affiliation in 2017 and met with planners from Capital Bikeshare and the D.C. authorities to implement the discounted scholar membership service. She mentioned officers have since labored to find spots for extra Capital Bikeshare stations close to campus by talks with DDOT management, college students and group members.
A lot of Capital Bikeshare’s progress in Foggy Backside has been a product of the College’s give attention to college students and sustainability, Nosal mentioned.
“In response to suggestions from scholar management, to reinforce the coed expertise and likewise work towards GW’s sustainability objectives, the College has applied quite a few alternate transportation choices together with its partnership with Capital Bikeshare,” she mentioned.
Metropolis officers launched one other improve to Capital Bikeshare in summer time 2019 when Lyft launched a brand new characteristic that enables customers to hire public bikes by their account.
In the latest enchancment to Capital Bikeshare, metropolis officers began rolling out electrical bikes this summer time after a yearlong mechanical difficulty stored the e-bikes off metropolis streets.
Capital Bikeshare ridership dipped final calendar yr, as single rides – that are bought by locals who aren’t members of this system – dropped from about 80,000 rides per 30 days in 2018 to 40,000 in 2019.
The service was dealt one other blow with the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, as ridership tanked by greater than 60,000 rides per 30 days in April with lower than 20,000 month-to-month journeys. Regardless of the ridership hit, Capital Bikeshare officers reached out to important employees struggling by the pandemic and offered them free memberships with limitless 30-minute rides earlier this yr.
The way forward for Capital Bikeshare
Throughout a tough time for transportation, Capital Bikeshare’s numbers define a extra encouraging pre-pandemic backdrop. Membership has climbed from about 1,200 in 2010 to greater than 26,500 in the present day, and 27 million journeys have lined 150 million miles. Greater than 600 stations and 5,000 bikes line metropolis streets all through the D.C.-area.
Mayor Muriel Bowser mentioned in a press release final month that Capital Bikeshare has upheld a “essential a part of our transportation community” as officers stay looking forward to this system’s persevering with success sooner or later.
“We look ahead to the subsequent decade of constructing out and increasing the Capital Bikeshare system to present much more riders a sustainable approach to journey by neighborhoods, the town and the area,” she mentioned.