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dzarem
05-06-2011, 08:48 AM
Today highlighted the ineptitude of Capital Bikeshare. There wasn't a dock to be had in a mile radius of 14th and G. A horde of bicylists circled around four stations for thirty minutes. I finally gave up and docked a mile away. Needless to say I was 45 minutes late for work.

I am cancelling my membership and buying a folding bike (I commute by train).

CCrew
05-06-2011, 01:08 PM
Today highlighted the ineptitude of Capital Bikeshare. There wasn't a dock to be had in a mile radius of 14th and G. A horde of bicylists circled around four stations for thirty minutes. I finally gave up and docked a mile away. Needless to say I was 45 minutes late for work.

I am cancelling my membership and buying a folding bike (I commute by train).

Sounds familiar. Was just talking yesterday with a guy in my office that said he's giving up on them because there's either none available to rent near him nor a place to dock one that's available when he gets here.

Mark Blacknell
05-06-2011, 03:28 PM
I don't quite get the idea of relying on CaBi as a part of daily commuting. All it takes is a small number of people in proximity to get the same idea to make it impossible (as has apparently been made clear today). It's like signing up for ZipCar and expecting to use it to drive to and from work every day.

I do think they could improve ubiquity and balancing, but I don't think meeting the needs of daily commuters should be the target.

CCrew
05-06-2011, 04:27 PM
I don't quite get the idea of relying on CaBi as a part of daily commuting. All it takes is a small number of people in proximity to get the same idea to make it impossible (as has apparently been made clear today). It's like signing up for ZipCar and expecting to use it to drive to and from work every day.

I do think they could improve ubiquity and balancing, but I don't think meeting the needs of daily commuters should be the target.

I don't know I agree with this. For the urban dweller that doesn't choose to lug a bike up a hi-rise or doesn't want to deal with the cost or technicalities of maintenance it's a great idea. Flawed obviously but it sounds like CaBi is a victim of it's own success which we should all benefit from.

This of course from a person that has access to a fleet of zipcar's if I should need one that's behind a locked gate with a guard to keep the riff-raff away from them :)

eminva
05-06-2011, 06:46 PM
I think the solution is to build some apartment buildings at 14th & G. And some office buildings in Adams Morgan (or wherever folks are coming from).

Liz

Brock
05-08-2011, 07:16 PM
it sounds like CaBi is a victim of it's own success which we should all benefit from.

This is exactly what I was going to say. They're working on improving the re-balancing efforts, but the next few months are going to be critical for them to make a good impression with new users - especially following the huge success of the LivingSocial deal a few weeks ago.

I can't find it now, but there was a quote on one of their pages (or maybe it was on ZipCar) to the effect that it's called bike sharing. You might not always be able to get one where you want it, and you might not always be able to return it where you want, because it's not your bike. If bike availability is a critical part of you getting to work on time, you should probably expect to pony up more than $75/year for transportation costs. In your case, dzarem, it sounds like the folding bike would be a much more appropriate solution.

As an aside, I know I'm something of a Bikeshare apologist. As far as I'm concerned, getting more people out on bikes is nothing but good. On the other hand, I also work from home and own a bike, so I typically only take Bikeshare for quick errands around the neighborhood or one-way rides home, so the availability issues don't affect my usage.



I think the solution is to build some apartment buildings at 14th & G. And some office buildings in Adams Morgan (or wherever folks are coming from).

An even better solution!

DaveK
05-09-2011, 09:32 AM
I went with three friends to the EU Embassy Open Houses on Saturday with the intent of using CaBi to connect the groups of embassies (all four of us are members). The dock at Van Ness had one broken bike that didn't show up on Spotcycle and the Woodley Park station only had one bike. I did see a lot of people that looked like they had a similar plan, so it was just another case of too much demand. Should have just brought my own bike.

Riley Casey
05-09-2011, 10:45 AM
It's always a balancing act to be sure and, as has been noted it is bike 'share' not bike rental from an unlimited supply of bikes but none of this obviates the essential element - rebalancing if done badly is going to kill the appeal of Cabi and if done well is going to reshape DC where ever Cabi is installed. When I repeatedly go to a Cabi dock at 19th and Florida ( mixed residential and business area ) at 11 pm on a weeknight that is full to the max and that same dock is repeatedly full at 6:30 am the next morning preventing me from parking a bike there and thus making the dock and the Cabi system useless to me then I can only see that as a failure of planning on the part of CaBi. There are other docks in my experience such as 16th and Harvard that are similarly empty for long periods - well past the advertised rebalancing cycle. It may well not be a practical option to make CaBi a routine part of one's commute from say Columbia Heights to downtown - the math is certainly against it - but CaBi can and should be golden on the simple stuff like rebalancing docks at midnight on Wednesdays. Any perception that they can't get that right is not going to go down well.


I don't quite get the idea of relying on CaBi as a part of daily commuting. All it takes is a small number of people in proximity to get the same idea to make it impossible (as has apparently been made clear today). It's like signing up for ZipCar and expecting to use it to drive to and from work every day.

I do think they could improve ubiquity and balancing, but I don't think meeting the needs of daily commuters should be the target.

PotomacCyclist
05-14-2011, 11:31 AM
They just installed a 27-dock station at Metro Center yesterday. That's just 2 blocks from the 14th & G station.

The Metro Center station is one of the "SmartBike" replacement stations: a CaBi station at the site of an old SmartBike station. There are still a few more of these replacement stations that will be installed. In addition, there are 25 more stations going online this year. No official announcement about the exact locations. I think it might be a mix of pushing out the system to some new neighborhoods and of creating more density in high-demand areas like Metro Center, Foggy Bottom and Columbia Heights.

The DC councilman who oversees transportation issues also recommended additional funding to add another 40 stations in the near future. That hasn't been approved yet, but it's a sign that people understand the popularity of the system as well as the need to work on the bike/dock balancing issue by adding more stations in key areas.

This may not solve all of the problems of empty/full stations but it will help.

PotomacCyclist
05-14-2011, 11:35 AM
The DC expansion is in addition to the new stations that are being installed in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor this year.

DeSales
05-16-2011, 08:57 PM
Due to mismanagement, Bikeshare is unusable -- a total waste of everybody's money. It makes no sense to have so many bikes in the system and no place to return them. This morning I took a 10 minute trip into Foggy Bottom and then peddled from station to station for half an hour. Every time I got to a station that reported open spots it was completely full when I got there. I finally found a station with a single open spot far, far away at DuPont Circle. I then had to take a cab to my destination and arrived for a meeting an hour late and $8 poorer. This is crazy! I would have been better off walking instead of wasting my time with Bikeshare.

It is not rocket science to know where stations will be full. It is very predictable and will be the same day after day. There is no evidence that anybody at Bikeshare is making any real effort to keep the system in balance. If someone from Bikeshare had been at just one of the many stations around Foggy Bottom to collect bikes all the other full stations could be directing riders there and the system would work. Instead, nothing was being done. Bikeshare is a useless fraud.

HillCycle
05-17-2011, 10:38 PM
I'm hearing so many complaints about CaBi and I'm stunned. I've been using it for a month and have had a great experience. I live near Lincoln Park and have had to ride to 3rd & D when the station is full. I've waited 3 minutes twice for bikes to show when none were there but 3 minutes is still far less time then I would have waited for the bus.

There is constantly a CaBi van at the Lincoln Park station rebalancing bikes. In the last month CaBi announced the addition of a 3rd rebalancing van and additional smaller vehicles and last week Spotcycle announced their app will update every minute instead of every five, making dock availability more reliable.

I think people are over reacting a bit with some of their complaints. The system has been open for just under 7 months and has seen a doubling in that time. Is it a perfect system? No, but considering the complexity and the fact that they do seem to be rapidly trying to both expand and iron our the kinks claiming the system is a failure is overboard.

DaveK
05-18-2011, 09:00 AM
I'm hearing so many complaints about CaBi and I'm stunned. I've been using it for a month and have had a great experience. I live near Lincoln Park and have had to ride to 3rd & D when the station is full. I've waited 3 minutes twice for bikes to show when none were there but 3 minutes is still far less time then I would have waited for the bus.

There is constantly a CaBi van at the Lincoln Park station rebalancing bikes. In the last month CaBi announced the addition of a 3rd rebalancing van and additional smaller vehicles and last week Spotcycle announced their app will update every minute instead of every five, making dock availability more reliable.

I think people are over reacting a bit with some of their complaints. The system has been open for just under 7 months and has seen a doubling in that time. Is it a perfect system? No, but considering the complexity and the fact that they do seem to be rapidly trying to both expand and iron our the kinks claiming the system is a failure is overboard.

I posted on the CaBi facebook page last night but I'm starting to get fed up with it lately. I've been a member since early on and have never had issues until recently. My wife and I have tried to use CaBi four times together since she got her membership a couple of weeks ago. Only once has it worked out that we both could pick up a bike from where we were and ride to where we intended. Last night was what pushed my buttons enough to post... we were coming home to the Eastern Market area and all three stations near our house (Eastern Market, 4th & East Cap, Lincoln Park) were full. This was at 9:30pm, not during the evening rush. We aren't CaBi commuters and just wanted to get home. I'm having a very hard time convincing her CaBi is a great as I've always said it is.

baiskeli
05-18-2011, 09:10 AM
Now that they know which stations are going to get hit the hardest, maybe they can add capacity there - but without adding bikes, just empty slots.

PotomacCyclist
05-18-2011, 02:58 PM
One of the CaBi/DDOT officials said that they may aim for a 1:2 bike/dock ratio in the future, instead of the current ratio of 2 bikes per 3 docks. That would mean more available docks systemwide. That may not solve all of the bike balancing issues, but it could help.

bArlington
05-25-2011, 09:19 AM
Yeah last week I had the opportunity to use CABI for a lunch last week (I was going to do a day rental). I pulled up the interactive map. All four CABI stations surrounding the lunch destination were noted as full. I took the subway.

I signed up for the Living Social deal. When I got my coupon, I could not get the CABI website to register me. After a day of trying, I called CABI. The operator could barely take my information. I had to repeat it over and over again. I asked the operator, dont we need to set up an account. No, he said, account information will be with the key when it arrives. Key arrived; no account information. I tried to log in - nothing. I received a voice mail and email from someone claiming to be CABI saying I needed to call but would not say why. I generally dont have lots of free time during the day, so during the evening I emailed back asking what the problem was. Nope, I had to call. I looked at the phone number that the person gave me - it was not a listed CABI number. FTC advice when someone contacts you concerning an account is to call back a published number, not an unpublished number - in order to protect your identity. I emailed the person through out this trying to get them to work with me. No I had to call. So I called a published CABI number. After being on hold for 20 minutes I hung up. I sent an email to CABI's help address asking what was going on. Some time later I got an email from the CABI help address indicating that I had canceled my account in April. No, I have never had an account with CABI so I could not have canceled it.

In the mean time I contacted Living Social which indicated that I will be refunded my money.

There is no way setting up an account should be this difficult.