Bikeshare option saves members $17 million
Capital Bikeshare, a public-private partnership focused on improving travel behavior, yesterday announced its Washington bike usage and regional impact survey results at a press event at the Mobility Lab www.mobilitylab.org
This is the second annual “Health Implications of the Capital Bikeshare Program,” conducted by the partners including the DC Department of Transportation, Arlington DOT and the City of Alexandria. www.capitalbikeshare.com.
“This has been the dream for 15 years, and supports the vision we share for Transportation Demand Management (TDM) and multi-modal travel,” said Lois DeMeester, CEO of Mobility Lab in Arlington. “It’s great to see Bikeshare (scale) and new transportation usage among young people.”
Meanwhile, at an event nearby in Washington, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood also lauded the Capital Bikeshare program for its initiative as the pioneering program in the U.S.
Secretary LaHood said: “Alternative modes of transportation – like walking and biking paths – allow us to get out of the car. We are going to expand the bikeshare program (nationally) that was inaugurated here in DC. On Memorial Day, they will inaugurate a bikeshare program in NYC. The Mayor of Chicago (Rahm Emanuel) says he wants to be among the largest.”
LaHood noted that on Cherry Blossom weekend, every bike in the Bikeshare program was rented in the Washington area. There are presently 1,800 bikes in the fleet!
Mobility Lab says 26% of people involved in Bikeshare have greatly reduced auto or Metro travel. With 22,000 Bikeshare members, it means there are 4.4 fewer miles of driving impacting Washington’s congested roadways.
Capital Bikeshare says younger people use biking as an alternative mode of transport if they don’t have cars; while older people believe it is often a faster and more convenient alternative to a car they own.
With 91 percent of the Capital Bikeshare survey participants saying “getting around is easier and faster or shorter, the primary driver (of participation) is having options to ride to work" as a main reason to join. Interestingly, 80 percent of those say they like the new option of the one-way trip. “I don’t have to worry about drop-off,” when a cyclist arrives was cited as the rationale.
Capital Bikeshare members are collectively saving $17.7 million per year in fuel, metro fares and auto maintenance costs.
Starting Memorial Day weekend this week, as the Secretary noted, New York City will also implement bikeshare on a broad scale basis. LaHood says there will be $47 million from Citi invested in New York’s system: “there would not be that kind of private investment if they didn’t think it would be successful.”
“City Bike in New York can learn from DC,” says Chris Hamilton of Arlington County Commuter Services, who along with DeMeester helped found Mobility Lab. “We want to share as much information use as possible. One way DC was able to gain buy-in was including members in naming the system, in social media, and in making them feel a part of it.”
“It will be interesting to see what will happen,” added Chris Eatough, program manager of Bike Arlington. “They are launching with a big system. How will they be able to get bikes from uptown to downtown? New York City is likely to be successful even with the chaotic self-rebalancing.”
Eatough says that Washington, DC is characterized by “residential to employment trips. New York will be cross town, uptown and across the bridges. It is a different beast.” New York is a multimodal city.