“The cool thing about the Bikeshare program is we’re going to know exactly how much people are actually using membership because we’ll get monthly reports on it,” said Yavar Moghimi, the psychiatrist who proposed the program. “Basically, we’ll have an estimate of how many miles people have ridden, how many calories they’ve burned. We’ll know the locations — where they picked up the bike and where they dropped off the bike.”
Moghimi said he hopes the year-long study will prove that enhanced mobility and physical activity improve the patients’ mental health.
The 20 people selected for the study group range from the chronically schizophrenic to those beset by depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress. The only patients excluded from the program are those with cognitive disorders who might not be able to negotiate the bike.
“My hope is that there are unequivocal positive effects involving physical and mental health and that this project can be incorporated into other studies and sort of pave the way,” said Josh Moskowitz, one of the Bikeshare program’s managers.
The Bikeshare program has proved more popular than expected in the year since the cherry-red machines debuted
on the streets of Washington and Arlington County. It now has 15,982 annual members, its bikes make an average of 4,000 trips each day, and the total number of trips taken hit 1 million Tuesday, on it’s one-year anniversary.
“It’s exceeded our expectations in terms of ridership, in terms of the core membership, and it’s personally a wonderful experience to be involved in such a great project,” Moskowitz said.
Almost 80 percent of the trips have been made by annual members, although there have been 66,534 24-hour and five-day memberships sold, according to Bikeshare data. The busiest Bikeshare docking station is where Massachusetts Avenue intersects with Dupont Circle, where more than 40,000 trips have originated.
Membership costs $75 for a year, $25 for a month, $15 for five days and $5 for 24 hours. Long-term members get a key to unlock a bike from the docking station; short-term members get a five-digit code to do it. The first 30 minutes of riding are free, but fees kick in after that until the bike is returned to another docking station.
The program will open 32 docking stations in new locations in the city this fall, increase the size of 18 existing stations and add 265 more bikes, bringing the total number to 1,365 in the District and Arlington. Arlington hopes to add 30 stations in the Rosslyn, Courthouse, Clarendon, Virginia Square and Ballston areas, and the program may expand to Rockville and Shady Grove next year.