More CaBis, Fewer Cars – DC’s Bicycle Sharing Program

A downtown center full of bikes, nearly absent of cars — it’s an eco-friendly vision. Bike sharing programs around the globe have sprouted within the last decade, from Paris to Mumbai. They can be traced back as far as the 60’s and 70’s in Europe. But recently, bicycle-sharing programs have taken off in North America. In the United States, one of the most successful bicycle-sharing programs has been in Washington, D.C. It’s called Capital Bike Share, or CaBi by its users.

Photo from flickr / Mr. T. in DC

How CaBi in Washington D.C. works: Think ZipCar in bicycle form. You pay a membership fee – daily, monthly or yearly. This gives you access to the bicycles around the city at numerous terminal stations. Trips up to 30 minutes are free with membership, and longer ones are charged by the hour. A personal electric key unlocks bikes, you can find them with a smartphone app, and there’s access to discounted helmets!

Many CaBi riders have expressed interest in more stations and bicycles, and expansion is ongoing. Monthly rides in March 2012 reached 164,911, the single highest monthly total. And they’re likely to grow more. CaBi has also created a sense of community by partnering with businesses to offer discounts.

The key ingredients to CaBi’s success:
Avoid traffic jams, ease of use, and simple high-tech integration transforms this bike sharing community into a viable green option. This new initiative is beginning to take shape in other cities, such as Boston, New York, and Chicago. Keep a look out for a bicycle community near your city!

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