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New Capital Bikeshare app lets you check availability, unlock bikes and buy passes

A row of Bikeshare cycles wait for riders in downtown Silver Spring. (Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post)

A bike is now just a tap away.

The new Capital Bikeshare app, available for iOS and Android users, connects riders to the growing bike system in real time. It lets you check for available bikes and unlock a bike at the docking station without using a key. Bikeshare members can keep track of their travel statistics, and casual users can purchase ride passes.

“The new Capital Bikeshare mobile app will open up new possibilities for CaBi riders — providing a convenient and quick way to find a bike or a dock, keep track of exercise, and make it easier to know that you’ve properly docked your bike,” Capital Bikeshare General Manager Eric Gilliland said in a statement.

“It’s never been easier to give Capital Bikeshare a try, and we look forward to providing our riders a more seamless experience than ever before,” Gilliland said.

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For example, if you forget your access key or are still waiting to receive one, you can unlock a bike at a docking station by using an access code. If you log in to the app, you can get an end of ride report, including notification when you dock so that you know that your trip is closed.

The app gives casual riders the option to buy passes, from a single-trip ride to a day pass or a monthly membership. Want to be a member? No problem. You can also purchase the $85 annual membership.

Exercise lovers will appreciate a feature that tracks calories burned and miles traveled. And, if you are rushing to get to work and want to make sure there’s a bike available at your neighborhood station, you will be able to check availability on a color-coded map. It will also tell you the location of bike corrals during high-use times.

Officials say the app will benefit Bikeshare members as well as tourists who want to use one of the more than 4,000 bicycles available at 470 stations across the region. The growing bike network is now available in the District and Alexandria and Arlington, Montgomery and Fairfax counties. Plans are to add the bike system in Prince George’s next year.

Capital Bikeshare will roll into Prince George’s next year

Although there are other apps that help users track down stations and the bike network, this is the first version by Motivate, the operator of Capital Bikeshare. Other bikeshare systems run by Motivate, including Citi Bike in New York and Hubway in Boston, have their own versions of the app.