The news that Capital Bikeshare is expanding again was well-received Tuesday, but it also raised some eyebrows. As we reported, the popular bike system is getting nearly 60 new docking stations and 577 bicycles this fall. The cost: $3.5 million. The District alone is spending $2.5 million on 40 stations and 435 bikes.
“That calculates to over $5,700 per bicycle. What’s wrong with that?” a reader told me in an email.
To clarify, the price tag covers both bikes and stations. We asked the District to provide a breakdown of the cost, but we haven’t received it yet. So, we are using data from Montgomery County, which also ordered new equipment this summer. (Capital Bikeshare is a joint program of the District, Alexandria, and Arlington and Montgomery counties.)
So how much does a bike cost? A little over $1,200.
Here is Montgomery County’s order breakdown:
- 58 new bikes cost $70,120, or an average of $1,208.97 per bike.
- One 19-dock station and six 15-dock stations cost $280,931. (That puts each of the smaller docking station at $38,660 each and the larger station at nearly $49,000).
All four member jurisdictions have ordered equipment through the system’s operator, New York-based Motivate. Here is what they are expecting to receive in November and the cost:
The District — 40 stations and 435 bicycles — $2.5 million
Alexandria — 4 stations and 28 bicycles — $182,000
Arlington — 8 stations and 64 bicycles — $458,000 (The number of stations and bicycles has been updated)
Montgomery — 7 new stations and 58 bicycles —$351, 051
The price for the docking stations varies depending on the size. All of the stations that the District ordered, for example, have 19 docks while the other jurisdictions have ordered a mix of sizes: from the 19-dock station to the 15-dock station and the smaller 11-dock station.
Each jurisdiction is responsible for paying for the equipment it gets, using various sources of funding.
“I don’t think the concept of a bike sharing program is ever a bad idea,” D.C. resident Sasha Elliot said in an e-mail. “I think this city has taken great strides in transforming itself into a bike friendly place. I really applaud its efforts. What I don’t applaud however, is the price it is paying.”
The District, which has 205 Bikeshare stations across the city, is using a federal grant, said Kim Lucas, bicycle program specialist with the District Department of Transportation.
Henry Dunbar, BikeArlington program director said the county is using local funds to buy the new equipment. He estimates each of the eight docking stations cost about $37,000, and include the kiosk, solar panels, map frame, and 15 bike docks. The $458,000 also covers the cost for installation and modification, some additional docks to be used for expanding existing stations, and six additional bikes.
Alexandria officials say the city is using private contributions from new developments coming into the city to buy the new bicycles. Alexandria also has received a grant to purchase 12 additional stations later this summer.
Montgomery County’s spokeswoman Esther Bowring, who provided the breakdown of the cost, said two of the stations are funded with developer contributions and the other five are from a state grant.