Photo by whiteknuckled on Flickr.

With the weather warming up, there have been huge numbers of people riding Capital Bikeshare. How is Alta holding up keeping stations from being full or empty?

People riding CaBi bikes seem to be everywhere, at least in my neighborhood of Dupont. Anytime I am outside I see significant numbers of riders. As the weather warms, usage should continue to grow, which is fantastic.

This new transportation system, which was extremely cheap to build and run compared to most, has been moving many people and demonstrating its value. DDOT has said they hope to expand by 30 more stations soon, while Arlington is adding stations near Rosslyn.

As with any system with a set capacity, success can also bring some challanges. Again speaking about Dupont, at least, the stations do seem to be getting empty or full not infrequently, and not just at rush hours.

This morning, I had a morning meeting near 14th and U, so I went to the nearest station (17th and Corcoran) to get a bike right about 9 am. Unfortunately, as I approached, I saw someone else take out the last bike. I had to walk halfway to another station instead.

Coming back, the two of us both got on CaBi to head back. We got the last 2 bikes at 14th and U. Upon arriving at the Dupont Circle and Massachusetts Avenue station, we filled the last 2 empty docks. We ended up staying around to talk for a while, and several people came by looking for docks during that time. So those folks wouldn’t go away frustrated, we took some of the bikes out again.

Capital Bikeshare is a fantastic system, but finding stations full or empty can be very frustrating. It’s hard to plan a trip around using it if there’s a fairly high probability you won’t be able to start or end your trip when you want.

Expanding the system soon is the best answer. DDOT has been getting political pressure to add more stations at the edge of the system, and they should. But they should also add more stations and more docks to existing, busy areas to provide more bikes where demand is high and more, closer alternative stations when one is full or empty.

David Alpert is Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington and Executive Director of DC Sustainable Transportation (DCST). He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. Unless otherwise noted, opinions in his GGWash posts are his and not the official views of GGWash or DCST.