CB HeaderMarch 2011 Newsletter

Capital Bikeshare's Redistribution and Rebalancing System

Launched just last fall, Capital Bikeshare took off faster than anyone expected. As a result of its popularity, we have experienced occasional supply and demand issues with either the bikes themselves or spaces to dock them. We are aware of this challenge and are utilizing system-generated data to attack it head-on.


To date, Capital Bikeshare has focused its efforts around explaining how the program works and why we hope you will use it; but we haven't said much about what goes onBikes behind the scenes. Who are the people who maintain the system for you, working tirelessly on the back end to ensure you have a bike when you need one? These are the people of Alta. Twelve individuals make up a professional team that is solely responsible for redistributing Capital Bikeshare bikes around the District; staff members are available and working from 6 a.m. until midnight every day. Sophisticated monitoring systems providing real-time data about bike volume at each station throughout the day enables them to make necessary adjustments to bike stations when they begin to see patterns of usage emerge.


 Alta's team does a great job of keeping the system running smoothly, but there are challenges. Alta Bicycle Share's Operations Team explains rush - hour traffic, which is also peak time for bike usage, is the biggest obstacle in moving bikes from one station to another.  When they most need to be rapidly distributing bikes, they find themselves unable to get through traffic quickly due to gridlock.


The irony of this situation -- that any Capital Bikeshare member who may have joined in order to avoid car traffic should ever find themselves in a situation where they can't get a bike because of traffic congestion -- is not lost on us. Alta is optimistic, however, and reports that they continually experiment with new ways to get around obstacles and improve efficiency. At one point, staff members even tried hauling loads of bikes around town by bicycle.   


As we move forward, Alta will continue to evaluate and modify their redistribution processes with the goal of maximizing system convenience. As a result of the recent uptick in system usage, Alta is currently in the process of hiring and training new staff and acquiring a new rebalancing vehicle.


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Winter Weather Warrior Winners: We're Wondering How They Did It Too 

We couldn't be more excited about the results of the Winter Weather Warrior contest-on every level: it kept our members engaged and communicating with us and with each other; it gave them something fun to do during some pretty dreary months; and it contributed to Capital Bikeshare's increased ridership. Participation exceeded our expectations, and competition was fierce but friendly. And it all ended in an exciting surprise win with Robert Salorzano's mad dash to finish first, followed closely by Scott Maberry and Michael Hurley-all warriors extraordinaire.  


Each was kind enough to offer statements both about their experiences with the contest, as well as their insights into commuting in general. Sadly (very sadly), we can't fit their interviews into the limited space of this newsletter, but resourceful as ever, we've posted the entire article on the goDCgo blog. They really had some great comments (and yes, they all work full-time-and no, not as bike couriers). Click here to read in its entirety.


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In the Spotlight: Denver Bike Sharing  

As promised, Capital Bikeshare is again featuring a fellow bikesharing system in this month's newsletter. So, if you're headed out to Denver any time soon, you can count on the Denver B-cycle system for the same convenience, accessibility and sheer joy of two-wheeling yourself hither and yon that you enjoy here in our nation's capital.

Denver B-cycle is operated by Denver Bike Sharing, which is a Colorado charitable, nonprofit corporation, currently offering a total of 50 stations and 500 bikes. According to their 2010 annual report, Denver B-cycle had a total 1,784 annual members, plus additional memberships in the thousands for one-day, seven-day and monthly passes. Those numbers translated into some pretty darn interesting statistics. Here's the break-down:

  •  211,111 miles ridden
  • Average ride 2.5 miles
  • 6,333,332 calories burned
  • 1,810 lbs lostDenver B-Cycle
  •  312,121 lbs of carbon avoided
  • 9,613 lbs of toxic air pollutants avoided
  • 15,868 gallons of gas not used
  • $41,256 estimated saved on gas
  • $311,126 estimated saved on car parking


And there's one more thing to love about the B-cycle program: the folks at Denver Bike Sharing have a special interest in making the bicycles accessible to everyone. As stated on their website, their vision is to "make bikes available as a healthy, everyday transportation alternative to all regardless of income level, racial background or lifestyle. The strategic location of Denver B-cycle stations has been guided by several criteria, the most prominent of which has been integration with the urban transit system in order to serve the broadest public possible, and fair distribution of stations to serve all neighborhoods."  For this reason, their website features multiple opportunities for local individuals, businesses and organizations to make donations and host or sponsor stations.  Cheers to Denver Bike Sharing for providing more than just another transportation mode, but for striving to be an integral and engaged partner in the Denver community!


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New at Capital Bikeshare:

Capital Bikeshare is teaming up with the National Cherry Blossom Festival to promote the use of bicycles throughout the festival's events in our "Bike to the Blossoms" campaign. To encourage bicycling as one of the easiest and most convenient ways to see the blossoms, the National Cherry Blossom Festival has added a number of convenient options for those who want to bike.


The Capital Bikeshare station at Independence Avenue and 12th Street will be staffed all three weekends of the festival to assist with increased demand for bikes. In addition, valet bike parking will be available at the Jefferson Memorial on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 6pm throughout the festival. For visitors with their own bikes and locks, the National Park Service will place extra bike racks at Independence Avenue & 15th Street, SW, near the Tidal Basin. 


Capital Bikeshare, goDCgo and the National Cherry Blossom Festival teamed up to produce a joint transportation map outlining the transportation options surrounding the festival's events. The map can be found on goDCgo's website.



Quotes of  

  the Month 

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"Had a great bike commute yesterday - it is heaven to leave work, walk across the street, jump on a bike, get some exercise, and be home in 20 minutes. When I take the bus I walk a block, wait 10-15 minutes for a bus, lurch through traffic for 30 minutes in a packed bus, then walk 10 minutes to get home. My commute has gone from 45-55 minutes each way to 15-20 minutes each way! Thanks Bikeshare!"

- Bryan G.    

 via Facebook  


"though I can't be called a #winterwarrior today, I just had a sweet @bikeshare sprint over my lunch break! Nice way to work off those chips!"  


 via Twitter


By the


There were 48,215  trips taken in February and  

754,073 minutes of use.

The number of trips increased 27% from January 2011. 

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