Saturday, September 15, 2012

Capital Bikeshare Load Management

Riding in across the 14th Street Bridge, I pass this relatively new Capital Bikeshare station on the way to work, or if on a recreational ride. Here on a Thursday morning (relatively late for me, after 9 am) this station at the Jefferson Memorial has only one bike left - but still, there is one. I don't think I have ever since a station with no bikes other than right after the earthquake, when they were all grabbed up.

Capital Bikeshare station, Jefferson Memorial
Only one Bikeshare bike left

While it isn't clear how much ferrying of bikes around is required to keep the Stations equipped with the optimum number of bikes for that location, based upon typical use patterns, I do see a large CaBi truck from time to time that is used for this purpose. The fact that it is so rare to see a station without any bikes (or one completely full) indicates to me that the CaBi people are pretty good at this.

Washington DC Tidal Basin Bike Rental (1941)
1941 bike rental station for recreational riding at the Tidal Basin

Not far from the Jefferson Memorial (to the east rather than southwest), presumably where one can now rent paddle boats, there was this bike rental outlet years ago. Of course for the most part the users of CaBi bikes are a different profile than these sorts of bike renters. Today despite CaBi I still see riders in DC using other bike rental companies - they seem to be tourists rather than residents. The CaBi model and other bike rentals are different in that CaBi is really about point-to-point in less than 30 minutes, then you "check out" another bike to continue on. I have only once seen a CaBi bike locked up at a location without a rider. (For one thing, they don't come with locks.) Other rental bikes do come with locks and are more for all day cruising.

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