What’s The Word On DC’s Rental Bike Program?


So Smart Bike DC has been around for a bit now and I’m wondering what folks think of it? Are there any subscribers out there? I’m seeing lots more folks on these around town so it seems to have a bit of popularity. Are the experiences with the program mostly positive or negative?


14 Comment

  • I love it! I use it all the time!

  • I stumbled across it downtown one day, thought I’d try it on the spot, and then saw that I had to have preregistered online or something. Seems to take the serendipity out of it…

  • @edgeonyou, you should be riding with a helmet anyway, so unless you typically carry a bike helmet around with you, spontaneous bike riding isn’t really practicable….

  • I really, really want to like this program, and I subscribed right away because I want it to be successful and expand, but their customer service side are kind of jerks, and they’re pretty quick to cut off your service. For example — I returned my bike, but didn’t check to see if the LED light went from green to red. I got an email the next day that said my service had been cut off for improper return, and that I could get it activated again if I replied to that email…which I did, except their servers were no longer accepting incoming emails.

    So, I still believe in this program, and I really want it to succeed, but there are still some kinks to iron out.

  • @edgeonyou: I believe that you don’t need to be preregistered for each use of the bike like with ZipCars… instead, you just have to pay the fee to get a card which gives you access to the bikes for a year.

  • Yes, Caro – you’re right. It’s just the $40 for unlimited use for a year, up to 3 hours at a time per bike. I’ve been using it about 3 or 4 times a week for sort trips around town since it started in late August. So far I’ve been really pleasantly surprised – the bikes are kept in great shape and I’ve never found any completely empty or full station.

    I just hope that the DC Government doesn’t abandon the program as the economy continues to slide. It can’t be cheap to run this operation, but they would definitely get more subscribers if they put more stations around town. Anyone know if they’re planning to expand it?

  • works for me. read the rules and ride.

    pretty simple.

    if you speak english, it works.

    that’s all.

  • I’m waiting for a truck or errant driver to take out the bike rental rack at the intersection of 12th and G downtown. Putting the thing in the street instead of on the sidewalk doesn’t seem like the smartest idea.

  • I like the idea and all, and I hope it works out, but I feel like most are likely to have their own bikes. Also, I don’t have one of these stands on my corner. The nearest one is near the end point where I’m usually going to walk. So it’s kind of pointless for me, but mayhaps I just haven’t come up with a practical use for it yet. Not trying to be negative, just realistic. If folks can make good use of the things, I’d be very happy about it, being the tree-hugger type -n- all.

  • I am a user and love it. I also own my own bike but often these are easier – don’t have to worry about locking it up somewhere and picking it up later. There are plans to expand it. We should be seeing more stations next spring.

  • Binklesworth:

    I read in an article that they will be expanding soon and that the goal is to have kiosks spread out 4-5 blocks apart from each other. That would mean you would essentially be no more than 2 1/2 blocks from one in whatever direction you go…

  • Love it, for short trips around the neighborhood and between here (Shaw) and downtown. I got the year membership for $30 because I’m a Zipcar member. If they had locations at Union Station and Georgetown, I’d use it even more. It’s very handy to pick one up, rather than leaving my own bike parked outside and having to lug a heavy lock around. I prefer just to drop off the bike at a station and then walk a little bit, if necessary. So far, the bikes seem to be maintained well, tire pressures are good, etc.

    I will say it’s largely cutting into my walking and public transportation trips since I don’t have a car. So, it’s not really helping congestion too much, in my case at least.

  • I think the program is great. Would be nice to ride longer than 3 hours though…

    @DC365: I too once incorrectly returned a bike (my fault I admit), but the reminder email I received was courteous, and I had no problems replying to it.

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