“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 bikesharing system. SmartBike D.C. offered 120 bikes at 10 stations in Washington, DC. Approximately 1,600 people joined SmartBike D.C. during its two years of operation.
Concurrently, Arlington County, VA was developing its own plan for a bikesharing system. Together, Arlington and the District reviewed proposals and selected an operator (Alta Bicycle Share) for a new multi-jurisdiction bikesharing 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 (Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard).
In August 2012, the City of Alexandria, VA launched with eight stations and 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 areas. In October 2016, Fairfax County launched 17 stations in Reston and Tysons (with plans for 29 in the first phase), to serve residents along the Silver Line Metrorail stations.
The Capital Bikeshare system is owned by the five participating jurisdictions and is operated by Motivate International, Inc. (formerly Alta Bicycle Share) a Brooklyn, New York-based company that operates several bikesharing systems including Citi Bike in New York City, Hubway in Boston 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 chose short-term access (24-Hours or 3-Days) or long-term access (30-Days or Annually). Riders take a bike from a station, ride to their destination and return it to another station. Capital Bikeshare is available 24-hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year.
All trips under 30 minutes are free. Trips beyond 30 minutes incur usage fees which increase incrementally the longer the bike is out. Registered or key-holding users save 25% on usage fees.
Alternative Membership Options
Individuals without a Debit or Credit Card
Bank On DC, a DC Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking program is a collaborative effort between the District of Columbia, financial institutions and nonprofits to support unbanked or underbanked households in the DC Metro Area.
Bank On DC is working to encourage every community member to participate in the benefits of bikesharing. All current and new Bank On DC account holders are eligible for a discounted Capital Bikeshare annual membership of only $50.
Current Bank On DC account holders are asked to visit any United Bank or District Government Employees Federal Credit Union (DGEFCU) location to receive a gift certificate valid for $35 off the cost of an annual Capital Bikeshare membership.
Individuals who are not yet a Bank On DC account holder can speak with a representative at any United Bank or District Government Employees Federal Credit Union (DGEFCU) location to open a new account, and receive a $35 gift certificate valid toward the cost of an annual Capital Bikeshare membership.
More information is available here.
Montgomery County Workers or Residents
A limited amount of funding is available through the Montgomery County Low Income Bikeshare Program (MCLiberty) to improve travel options for low income commuters living or working in the County or enrolled in job training or educational programs.
Those who qualify for the program based on income requirements will receive free services, including: free membership for up to one year ($85 value), free bicycle education and safety training and a free bike helmet.
The MCLiberty bikeshare assistance program can accept a limited number of income-qualified applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. To see if you qualify, contact Commuter Services at (240) 777-8380 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Assistance in completing a registration form is available.
Arlington County Residents
Arlington County now accepts cash payments from Arlington residents for Capital Bikeshare memberships and user fees. This one-year (through December 2015) pilot 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, to join.
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 shown, such as a driver's license. Or they can show a passport, Permanent Resident Card or Employment Authorization Card along with 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 30 minutes. Another option is to pay $100 in cash for the annual membership cost of $85, and the remaining $15 will be used towards usage fees.
Commuter Store staff will register customers and provide a member key fob 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.
Trips beyond 30 minutes incur usage fees which increase incrementally the longer the bike is out. Key-holding members save 25% on usage fees.
Day Key, 30-Day, Annual,and
Annual with Monthly Installments Members
About the Bike
The Capital Bikeshare bicycles 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 handlebars 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 pressure longer. Front and rear flashing LED lights are integrated into the frame 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 and built by Cycles Devinci.
Capital Bikeshare Fleet (As of December 1, 2016)
Bicycle Manufacturer: Cycles Devinci
Number of Bikes: More than 3,700
Stations (DC): 235
Stations (Arlington): 87
Stations (Alexandria): 31
Stations (Montgomery County): 58
Stations (Fairfax County): 17
Total Stations: 428
Docks on Street (DC): 4,518
Docks on Street (Arlington): 1,218
Docks on Street (Alexandria): 513
Docks on Street (Montgomery County): 890
Docks on Street (Fairfax County): 255
Total Docks: 7,394
Growth of Stations
Most Popular Stations in 2015
As of December 1, 2016
Total Trips to Date: 15.1 Million
Record # of Trips
As of December 1, 2016
Total number of annual and 30-day members: 31,660
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 lane
- Would not block utility access, such as a manhole cover
- Would not create a dangerous situation for street users