So you're traveling to the Washington, D.C. area and looking for a unique and healthy way to see the hundreds of tourist attractions around town. We've got the inexpensive and fun way to do it! Capital Bikeshare - the first and one of the largest bike sharing systems in the United States is right here in the National Capital Region.
Capital Bikeshare (also abbreviated CaBi) is a bicycle sharing system that serves Washington, D.C.; Arlington County, Virginia; and the city of Alexandria, Virginia. Its 201 stations and 1,800-plus bicycles are owned by these local governments and operated in a public-private partnership with Alta Bicycle Share.
Opened in September 2010, the system was the largest bike sharing service in the United States until New York City's Citi Bike began operations in May 2013. In its first 22 months (September 2010 to June 2012), Capital Bikeshare enrolled more than 24,000 annual members and 2,800 monthly members, sold more than 180,000 24-hour and 3-day passes, and recorded 2.3 million trips. In the system's second year (September 2011 to September 2012), users took 1,851,857 trips. In 2013, Montgomery County, Maryland signed a contract to add 50 stations by the end of the year.
Capital Bikeshare has five payment options. Casual riders may purchase a 24-hour pass ($7) or a 3-day pass ($15) at any bike station. After swiping a credit card at the station's kiosk, a rider gets a code to unlock a bike. Riders may also sign up online for monthly ($25), annual ($75), or annual installment ($84, paid in monthly increments of $7) passes; these riders are mailed an RFID key that can unlock bikes without entering a code.
Any rider may take unlimited trips of up to 30 minutes, as measured from the time the bike is withdrawn from a dock to the time it is returned. Longer trips incur fees for each additional half-hour on a scale that rises from $1.50 to $8.00. This pricing structure is designed to encourage short trips from place to place instead of longer leisure rides. If a destination station is full, riders can use the kiosk to get 15 more free minutes to return the bike to another location.
A replacement fee of $1,000 is charged to the credit card on file if a rented bike is not returned within 24 hours.