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Thread: CaBi classic bike base-time increasing to 45 mins for annual members

  1. #1
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    Default CaBi classic bike base-time increasing to 45 mins for annual members

    Another piece of good news from Capital Bikeshare. It looks like good things are happening in 2021:

    The "base time" you can use a classic bike, before being charged any fees, is increasing to 45 minutes.

    Right now this is seems to be not publicized and technically it's listed as a perk for anyone who earns a lifetime total of 250 Bike Angel points. It's a little incentive to get regulars to do at least some little Bike Angel-ing now that Bike Angels is back. It's not at all hard to reach 250 under the new point system. (Whoever came up with that tie-in is a good marketer, for it gets people familiar with the Bike Angel system.)

    This is a good change and a long overdue one, IMO. I believe NYC bikeshare has had a 45-min base for years for all users, but their fees are also much higher.

    Why is this such a sensible change for annual members: The simple fact is, people often make 30min+ trips as it is. The CaBi system by maybe the mid-2010s had gotten big enough that lots of people were often doing one-ways that pushed close to, or over, the 30min mark. What they'd do to dodge fees on a trip that, say, might take 25-35 minutes depending on conditions and how they were feeling, is simply dock near the 20min mark at a midway point, then take out the same bike again and start fresh, under no time pressure to reach the destination, whether it took 9 more minutes or 19 more.

    This "mid-journey time-reset docking" thing, something I used to do regularly as I commuted on CaBi much of the time, and something I've seen others do enough to know common it is, put unnecessary pressure on the system: Wear and tear to bike and dock alike, plus added time-stress to users trying to beat the 30min mark and maybe in some cases rushing unnecessarily.

  2. #2
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    Henry said on Twitter that the return of Bike Angels is a soft launch to work out any bugs. It hasnít rolled out to me yet. An extension to 45 minutes would be great. Iíve had so many times where I was just over 30 minutes if I decided to ride home. I would be willing to pay more per year if I could get a 60 minute window.


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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judd View Post
    An extension to 45 minutes would be great. I’ve had so many times where I was just over 30 minutes if I decided to ride home. I would be willing to pay more per year if I could get a 60 minute window.
    I've often had the same idea. The thirty-minute window seems to me a legacy of the (system of the) early 2010s and hasn't made sense for years now. It's entirely a nuisance and doesn't reflect how many regulars actually use (or would use) the system.

    I have an Arlington County Bike Map dated 2012. A lot of it is familiar, bike paths and things, but the Bikeshare network is entirely changed. At that time, the farthest-west station in the county was the one opposite Clarendon Metro entrance. Imagine that! If you are going to downtown DC from this extreme-west point of the circa-2012 early CaBi network, thirty minutes seems plenty. But it's not now.

    (Even the 45-minute limit, seemingly to be rolled in here in the early 2020s, is just catching up with the realities of the system achieved by circa 2016/17. IMO.)

    According to the guy who used to run Bike Angels (not sure if he is around anymore, name is Collin)., who started the NYC bike angels program and then also supervised the initial DC bike-angel system, the thirty-minute limit was the source of complaint by people all over the place, including by those who ran the system, including himself indirectly. He says this 30-minute cap was imposed by a well-intentioned-but-misguided rule by the people making political decisions re: bikeshare in the late 2000s in its initial planning stages. It was "as a way to protect the systems," which didn't make much sense then and certainly doesn't now.

    I can imagine a criticism of 45-min or 60-minute base-times as follows: If someone has lost a bike, or is intending to "steal" a bike, or there is some kind of problem with docking or something else and a bike has been abandoned, they want t o get in contact with the user ASAP to sort out the problem. Better to do that under a lower base-time window, the sooner the better. Okay, but such problems almost will all apply to inexperienced users. If you're an annual member and have shown commitment to the system via doing some bike-angeling, why not give you a "45 minute" for one tier and a a"60 minute" for a higher tier? A symbol of trust.

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