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Bike Sharing Program Comes to Washington, DC

Clear Channel Outdoor and the Washington DC District Department of Transportation are launching a self-service public bike rental program. The program will initially consist of ten rental locations with 100 bicycles.

The bike stations, located at key locations in the central business district, are modular and the bicycles are ergonomic and light-weight in a distinct design. Each bicycle station consists of a rental kiosk and a horizontal rack with docking points. The kiosk processes the rental of bicycles and provides users information. It also transmits the operational status of a specific location to the operations center and sends diagnostic information and alerts to the central server.

The service is accessible via online subscription. An individual annual subscription is $39.99 per year. A replacement fee of $200 will be charged in case a bicycle is not returned within 48 hours after rental. Subscribers will receive a personalized SmartBike DC user card that provides access to any station of the program at any time.



coolest idea ever!!! can't think of how many times i've walked somewhere but later wished i had my bike to get home.


Any biking program will be a help in alleviating traffic and attendant air quality problems. Now government needs to focus hard on protecting citizens sharing the roads with automobiles. Presently there's a lot of hand waving and chest ponding about the need to walk and bike. These behavioral goals will fall flat and die IF government does not take steps to guarantee the security of those who are recruited.

Bike and pedestrian travel will increase proportional to the safety with which they are afforded. Mandatory license suspensions, heavy fines and jail terms for offenders who hit cyclists / peds is one way to enforce mutual respect for road use. Presently biking and walking in North American cities is a life threatening proposition. And insurance monopolies with no oversight effectively guarantees corruption and graft at the highest levels of government.


Good idea,

Some european cities already do this type of program with great success. I'm sure there will be those who will try to denegrate this type of program but in city cores, a bike is oftentimes more agile than any car. Also if it alleviates downtown congestion even a little bit, it will be worth it.


This is the Paris France model, complete with the program paid for by an outdoor advertising company.

10 rental locations with 100 bicycles [10ish at each location] is puny. It's so small that it's probably worthless for anything but the occasional round trip by the small percentage of people who live near enough one of the 10 outposts.

To be effective, you need lots of stations. Not 10, but 100, or more. People have to know that wherever they're riding, there's a station nearby, allowing for one-way "rentals". Furthermore, without ubiquitous stations, you've got to provide the users a way to lock the bicycle once they've arrived at their destination [store, friend's apartment, whatever]. Otherwise, they're useless since you're out $200 when your borrowed non-locked bike gets stolen.

Programs like this benefit from network effects -- double the number of locations, and you'll more than double the usage. They must increase the number of outposts substantially if the program is to reach it's potential.

Terry Perrin

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