Outside the front gates, students may have noticed a new addition to the neighborhood: a Capital Bikeshare station. Unfortunately, the convenient benefits offered by Bikeshare comes at a price – one unreasonably high for students.
Like many cities, Washington has embraced healthy and clean transportation in order to fight traffic congestion and pollution. Capital Bikeshare is a part of a larger initiative by the D.C. Department of Transportation to encourage alternative means of travel within the capital. Over the past five years, the city has been taking steps to make D.C. more bike-friendly.
Already, great strides have been made, with the introduction of bike lanes on 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. Expansion is expected to continue throughout the city; 45 miles out of a total 80 planned miles of bikes lanes have been built.
Capital Bikeshare aims to make bike access a no-brainer for residents, tourists and college students in the District. But the current pricing model suggests otherwise.
Capital Bikeshare charges users a $75 annual membership fee, a $5 single-day-use fee or a $25 30-day fee to use bikes stationed throughout the city. For those that would rent the bikes frequently, that seems like a fair deal; for those that might want to use the service more casually, that is already fairly pricey.
But to actually put a membership to work, it gets even more costly. Any user borrowing a bike for more than a half hour incurs extra fees per half hour tacked onto the base membership cost. For Georgetown students and most District residents, such high fees make Capital Bikeshare too expensive to be convenient.
Steps toward new, clean methods of transportation offer a solution to increasing congestion without major infrastructure investment or public transportation expansions. Capital Bikeshare is a good idea and has the potential to be a successful program. In its current form though, it fails to be useful or cost-effective. “