I was down in Virginia over the holidays, visiting family, and had a short jaunt into DC to see the International Spy Museum. Aside from making me look twice at everyone on the street (… hey, is that delivery van really a delivery van?), the visit allowed me to observe DC’s Capital Bikeshare in use on a blustery, chilly day in late December. How does it stack up against Boston’s Hubway?
1. DC’s Bikeshare is still open. It operates 365/24/7. On the Hubway site: “The Hubway bikeshare network has closed for the season.” DC does have an advantage in the weather department: though it snows (and storms that bring 2 feet are not unheard of), it usually melts within a week. It is rumored that Boston’s Hubway will attempt to stay open through the winter in December ’13.
2. In the roughly 30 minutes that I was walking around just north of the Mall (near 10th and F), I saw 8 people on Bikeshare bikes, including one person taking one from the rack near the Spy Museum. Not a crowd, but then again, it was about 40 degrees and really, really windy.
3. The bikes are red: small detail, but the racks-ful of bikes are highly visible and cheerful.
4. DC, MD, and VA: 1670+ bikes at 175 stations. Boston, Cambridge, Somerville & Brookline: “over 100 stations.”
5. Bikeshare 1 year membership: $75. Hubway 1 year membership: $85.
As a flagship program in a temperate city more than twice the size of Boston, it’s no surprise that Capital Bikeshare outshines Hubway, but I have to admit to some envy at the coverage in the city of my youth.