Montgomery makes push to boost Capital Bikeshare memberships

A Capital Bikeshare station on M Street SE near Nationals Park. (Robert Thomson / The Washington Post)

In the nine months since Montgomery County launched Capital Bikeshare, use of the bike network has been relatively low.

Some stations, the ones closest to the District and a Metro station, such as Silver Spring and Friendship Heights, have done well. But other stations in less urban areas including parts of Rockville and Shady Grove, are not getting much use.

The county’s commuter services is stepping up outreach efforts to get residents to join the program. Starting this week, county workers have been out promoting the county’s bikeshare stations in Silver Spring, passing out information about how the program works, its benefits, and offering some membership deals.

Although the numbers haven’t been as strong as hoped, officials say that was expected during the rough winter months when ridership remained low.  The county has recorded 11,533 trips since the program began in September through April. And county officials say April was a strong month, with 3,182 trips.

Operating the bikeshare program next fiscal year is projected to cost $1.43 million, and the county is forecasting only about $400,000 in revenue from the bike users. Officials say the program will eventually sustain itself, but it needs more users.

As part of the campaign to be held in the next few weeks, the county will be offering discounted corporate memberships and free single-day passes. Here are some for the events in the Silver Spring next week:

Wednesday, June 25, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Fenton Street & Ellsworth Avenue

Wednesday, June 25, 5 – 7 p.m. – Silver Spring Metro Station

Thursday, June 26, 3 – 7 p.m. – 13th Street and Eastern Avenue

Friday June 27, 1 – 5 p.m. – Fenton Street and New York Avenue

Montgomery is also planning more expansion.  Last month, the county announced it has secured more funding for five new Capital Bikeshare, which will expand the program’s now 49 stations.

Luz Lazo writes about transportation and development. She has recently written about the challenges of bus commuting, Metro’s dark stations, and the impact of sequestration on air travel.



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Robert Thomson · June 20, 2014