Friday, May 21, 2010

DC and Arlington's New Bike-sharing Service

As MetroBike, LLC is the consultant on the project, I'm very happy -- make that elated -- to report on The Bike-sharing Blog that Washington, DC and Arlington, VA have announced a joint service with over 1,110 bikes at 114 stations and is set for a Fall 2010 launch. The service will use the Bixi system and be operated by Alta Bicycle Share, Inc.

What's news-worthy about this service is that this service will be the largest in the U.S. (Denver had pulled away with this title last month with its launch.) Also, this will be a regional service as DC and Arlington are not just separate jurisdictions, but are in separate states. Ooooooh, aaaaaaah. Yes, it can be done. The contract with the vendor was written with a regional rider to allow other jurisdictions in the region to climb on-board as well to use the same pricing as developed in Arlington through its public tender process. Rather than being through an outdoor advertising contract, as is the SmartBike service presently being offered in DC, the new service was initiated through the public tender process. This gives more flexibility to the jurisdictions to create the type of service they want, but also allows jurisdictions who don't allow outdoor advertising to have bike-sharing. There are not many regional bike-sharing contracts globally (Paris comes to mind), so this is an exciting example of one.

MetroBike, LLC assisted in developing the RFP, locating stations, and is managing Arlington's contract. MetroBike will work towards making the yet-to-be-named bike-sharing service one of the best in the world. Starting in the fall, come visit Arlington and DC and let me know what you think about the service. Both places are very bike-friendly and there is simply no better way to get around than by bike-sharing bike.

Update: Here's the contract on Arlington County's website.

Here's the press release:

For Immediate Release
May 21,2010
Media Contact: Mafara Hobson, EOM 202-727-2807
Karyn Le Blanc, DDOT 202-671-3490
Chris Eatough, BikeArlington 703-247-6981
Alison Cohen, Alta Bicycle Share 215-248-1984
Bérengère Thériault, Public Bike System Company 514-497-9380

District of Columbia and Arlington Launch Regional Bike Sharing Program
· Expansion of popular transit system brings new transportation system to the region
· Will be the largest bike sharing system in the U.S.
· Public invited to participate in naming the bike sharing program

(Washington, D.C.) – Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette and District Department of Transportation Director (DDOT) Gabe Klein today announced a joint effort to expand bike sharing tenfold in the Washington area. Both Arlington and the District have each signed contracts for what will become a regional bike sharing system later this year.

“We are extremely excited to lead the nation once again in bike sharing,” said Mayor Fenty. “The response to the bike sharing program has been unprecedented and we are pleased to be able to join with Arlington in our expansion efforts.”

This expanded, regional system follows the success of SmartBikeDC, launched in 2008. The new system will launch later this year with roughly 1100 bikes at 114 stations and will be largest of its kind in the U.S.

“It will be terrific for residents and visitors to be able to pick up a bike in DC and drop it off in Arlington, and vice versa,” commented Chairman Fisette. “This new system will connect with our existing transit network, and provide even more options for people to get around. This is a wonderful example of regional cooperation.”

“The District continues to move forward with our initiatives to provide a more balanced approach to transportation,” said DDOT Director Klein. “Biking provides a healthy and efficient way to get around town and with the installation of this new system almost anyone who can ride a bike will enjoy the benefits.”

The new system will be similar to the one the Public Bike System Company (PBSC), based in Montreal, produced, commonly known as BIXI. The BIXI system has been running in Montreal since 2009 and will be arriving soon in Minneapolis, London, and Melbourne, Australia. BIXI bike sharing stations are solar powered and use wireless technology to allow for easy installation and adjustments. It may look different, but the BIXI bicycle has many of the same features as the Smartbike: 3-speed, internal hub gears, fenders, chain guard, lights, and a front rack. Annual, monthly, and daily memberships will be available for area residents and visitors.

Alta Bicycle Share will operate the system. Alta Bicycle Share is a US-based company focused on management and operation of bicycle share systems globally. Its sister company, Alta Planning + Design, is the largest bicycle and pedestrian consulting company in the United States. Alta Bicycle Share is implementing or consulting on similar programs in Australia, Europe, China, and other locations in the United States.

Name that bike

The District and Arlington County are also asking the public to get involved by participating in a survey to help pick the name of the new bike sharing system. Go to to vote for your favorite name or to suggest a new one. Everyone gets only one vote but you should vote quickly. The voting will only be open for a limited time and all votes must be submitted by 5 p.m. on June 4, 2010.

Visit the following websites for more information on the partners and their bike programs or products mentioned in this release:

Public Bike Share Company – BIXI System
Alta Bicycle Share Company

image credit:


Anonymous said...

The real gain with a system like this comes when it becomes fully integrated as a mode of public transport, so that in this case through WMATA it grows to cover MD and VA.

The model already exists in Europe where major rail and bus operators have part or total ownership of bike sharing (and leasing) AND car sharing schemes (WMATA already links-up with Zipcar), selling (finally) a complete journey product for the door-to- door journey with both commercial and consumer benefits, and a product that delivers an equivalent to the private car.

A typical commuter in the UK making a 90-120 minute commute with car-rail- bus/walk can cut 30 minutes or more from their travelling time, and the operator saves on infrastructure - notably car park provision with up to 40 bikes parked in 1 compact car parking bay,

All this, at last begins to fulfill the vision of my APT solution from some 15 years ago, and where the passengers can see such gains the use of cycles rockets up faster than any 'push' promotion can deliver - in some cases increasing over 1000% on a few months.

Mark Ludwick said...

This is awesome news Paul. I let my SmartBike membership expire when they kept not expanding up to Columbia Heights. I can't wait to use the new bikes!

Unknown said...

DC is conducting a survey right now to determine the best places to put sations: