Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the launch of Capital Bikeshare, America’s largest experiment in public bikesharing to date. The anniversary offers a good opportunity to quickly look back on the program’s successes and failures, and to look forward at what’s to come.
So how did the first year go? Pretty darn well. The system has over 18,000 registered members, which puts its members-per-bikes ratio in very elite company globally. It has logged over a million trips, which is double the estimate for its first year. The bikes are ubiquitous in the central city, and are well on their way to icon status. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that the anticipated problem of station sparsity has indeed been an issue. Dock blocking is common enough that the term has entered the lexicon of Washingtonians. The most successful bikesharing systems offer stations closely packed enough so that dock blocking isn’t a big concern.
So in a very real way, Capital Bikeshare’s biggest problem is that too many people are using it. It’s a good problem to have.
And so, with a successful first year under its belt, Cabi is looking to expand. Four expansions are currently funded and anticipated to come online within the next year. Together they will enlarge the system from its current level of 116 stations located in two jurisdictions, up to around 200 stations in four jurisdictions. And no one expects expansion to stop there. All the existing member jurisdictions are considering even more stations, and other jurisdictions may still join the network.
What will that new, larger system look like? Here is a map showing the 116 existing stations (circles), plus the approximate planned locations of the 60 or so in DC and Arlington that are funded and will come online at various times in the coming months (squares). Additional stations are funded in Shady Grove and Alexandria, but location information is not available yet.
Click the map for interactive version.