In his March 6 Local Opinions essay, “The feds should stay out of the bike lane,” Michael Sargent conflated numbers to make the point that the federal government shouldn’t invest in bikeshares. Cities are effectively leveraging public funding to invest in bikeshares as a transportation option that improves public health and reduces traffic congestion.
Bikeshares are competitive with bus and rail transit in terms of fares and cost recovery. Capital Bikeshare is expected to recover 77 percent of its operating costs from advertising and user revenue in fiscal 2016 and 84 percent by 2021. It is also affordable for the user, increasing mobility and in many cities, including the District, creating union jobs.
Miles traveled on bikeshares alone ignore the important role they play in linking riders to other forms of transit. More than half of Capital Bikeshare members use it to get to or from Metro. Bikeshares make it easier for people to choose bus and rail transit.
Bikeshares provide a flexible, healthy and accessible transportation option, and they are increasingly integrated into our public transit planning, operations and budgeting. The passage of measures such as the Bikeshare Transit Act would recognize the reality that is happening and support a transportation vision that is environmentally friendly and available now. We should all be be happy to get behind that.
Nicole Freedman, Austin
The writer is president of the North American Bikeshare Association.