“Life connected by pedal strokes.”
“To transform our community by providing a high quality, convenient and affordable bicycle transit system that will connect people to more places where they live, work and play in the region.”
In August 2008, the District of Columbia became the first jurisdiction in North America to launch a bikeshare system. SmartBike DC offered 120 bikes at 10 stations in Washington, DC. Approximately 1,600 people joined SmartBike DC during its two years of operation.
Concurrently, Arlington, VA was developing its own plan for a bikeshare system. Together, Arlington and the District reviewed proposals and selected an operator (Alta Bicycle Share) for a new multi-jurisdiction bikeshare system. Capital Bikeshare opened on September 20, 2010 with 1,100 bikes at 114 stations—100 in all eight wards of the District of Columbia and 14 in Arlington, VA (Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard).
In August 2012, Alexandria, VA launched their Capital Bikeshare network with eight stations. In September 2013, Montgomery County, MD joined with 51 stations in Bethesda, Friendship Heights, Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Rockville and the Shady Grove Life Sciences Center. In October 2016, Fairfax County, VA launched 17 stations in Reston and Tysons (with plans for 29 in the first phase), to serve residents along the Silver Line Metrorail corridor. In May of 2018, Prince George's County, MD became part of the Capital BIkeshare program. In May of 2019, the City of Falls Church, VA became the 7th locality to join the Capital Bikeshare system, adding 10 stations.
The Capital Bikeshare system is owned by the seven participating jurisdictions and is operated by Motivate International, Inc. (formerly Alta Bicycle Share). Motivate is based in Brooklyn, New York and operates Citi Bike in New York City, Bluebikes in Boston, FordGoBike in San Francisco, and Divvy Bikes in Chicago.
How it Works
Capital Bikeshare is designed to get riders from point A to point B, similar to a bus or a train. Riders can choose short-term access (24-Hour Pass) or long-term access (30-Day Membership or Annual Membership). Riders take a bike from any station, ride to their destination and return it to any available station.
Capital Bikeshare is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. All trips under 45 minutes on classic bikes are included for members. Members unlock bikes for free and pay the discounted rate of $0.10 per minute for ebikes. For members who ride longer than 45 minutes, a $0.05 per minute rate will apply. Casual riders do not have included minutes on classic rides and pay $1 to unlock and $0.05 per minute for classic bike rides and $0.15 per minute for ebikes.
|Single Trip ||$1 to unlock and $0.05 per minute for classic bike rides |
$1 to unlock and $0.15 per minute for ebikes
Alternative Membership Options
Capital Bikeshare for All
Capital Bikeshare offers affordable, accessible, and fun transportation options for everyone, regardless of income. Our equity program allows those who qualify for certain state or federal assistance programs to sign up individually or join through a Community Partner.
- $5 Annual Membership
- $0 fee for qualified individuals in Montgomery County
- Bikes are available 24/7/365 throughout the service area
- Unlimited rides, with the first 60 minutes included on classic rides
- Only $0.10 per minute for ebikes
Montgomery County Workers or Residents
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation offers free Capital Bikeshare memberships to county residents who qualify.
Funding is available through the Montgomery County Low Income Bikeshare Program (MCLiberty) to improve travel options for low-income individuals that reside, work or attend school in Montgomery County, MD.
Those who qualify for the program based on income requirements receive a free Capital Bikeshare Annual Membership, bicycle education and safety training and a bike helmet.
The MCLiberty program is offered to income-qualified applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. To apply, contact:
Montgomery County Commuter Services
Assistance is also available for completing the application form.
Arlington County Residents
Arlington, VA accepts cash payments from Arlington residents for Capital Bikeshare memberships and user fees. This program is designed to make access to Capital Bikeshare easier for Arlingtonians who don’t have a credit or debit card, or prefer to pay cash.
Arlington residents can sign up for a Capital Bikeshare membership at any of Arlington’s five Commuter Store locations. Individuals must bring a current government-issued photo ID with an Arlington address, or a passport, Permanent Resident Card or Employment Authorization Card AND a copy of a utility bill dated within the past 60 days with their name and Arlington address.
Accounts can be opened with as little as $16 in cash toward the standard price of an annual membership with monthly installments. This covers the $8 per month membership fee plus usage fees for trips beyond the first free 45 minutes. Another option is to pay $100 in cash for the annual membership cost of $95, and the remaining $5 will be used towards usage fees.
Commuter Store staff will register customers and provide a bike key to begin using Capital Bikeshare immediately. Arlington will debit cash members’ accounts with monthly membership and usage fees as they occur and notify them when their account credit runs low in order to add more money.
About the Bike
Capital Bikeshare bikes have a step-through frame that provides a lower center of gravity and ease of access to a wide range of heights. The one-piece aluminum frame and handlebar conceal cables to protect them from vandalism and inclement weather. The heavy-duty tires are designed to be puncture-resistant and are filled with nitrogen to maintain proper inflation. Front and rear flashing LED lights are integrated into the bike, which weighs approximately 48 lb (21.77 kg). All bikes have three speeds, a bell and a front rack for storing cargo. The bikes were designed by industrial designer Michel Dallaire.
Physical Criteria for Station Locations
- 4+ hours of direct sunlight daily
- At least 11’ x 42’ of space
- Between 2 - 5 blocks (500' - 1,250') from the nearest Capital Bikeshare station
- If on a sidewalk, minimum pedestrian clearance of 6’ is needed
- If on-street, preference for being adjacent or near a bike facility
- Would not block utility access, such as a manhole cover
- Would not create a dangerous situation for street users