I like to think of them as having dorkish charm
The expansion will bring the total number of bikes on the city’s streets to around 500.
The goal is to get Smartbike running in all eight Wards of the District. The upcoming expansion will not touch all eight Wards, but there will be numerous neighborhoods that get the bikes, including Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights, Capitol Hill, Anacostia and Georgetown …. DDOT has set aside about $3 million in stimulus money to fund the upcoming expansion.
$3 million? Startup costs eat up most of the money, especially if you want to start with a bigger system, like Arlington does. From Greater Greater Washington:
The biggest obstacle is startup cost. Systems cost very little to maintain, since subscription fees and ads cover most of the operating and replacement cost …. Arlington Commuter Services head Chris Hamilton says they’re hoping to find more money to start with a bigger system. A maximal system of 1,400 bikes of the fancier kind DC uses, he said, would cost at most $6 million for capital and operating costs for the first two years.
According to WTOP, the expansion should be complete by this summer, will take the total number of racks from 10 to 50. Annual subscriptions cost $40 and they’ve got a cool map that tells you how many bikes are left at a given location, (but be careful, GGW notes that the markers go screwy at different zoom levels).
When the program launched in August, Vox’s Will Sommer decried the bikes’ ugliness. Me, I think they’re kind of cute.
Photo taken from Flickr user afagen under a Creative Commons license.