As of this weekend there is a new way to experience bike sharing in the District.
With 440 stations, Capital Bikeshare is the third largest system in the United States, behind New York (600) and Chicago (580). For comparisons' sake, New York's Citi Bike has 10,000 bikes, Chicago's Divvy has 5,800 bikes, and DC's Capital Bikeshare has 3,700. Measuring by number of stations may be a thing of the past, however.
The District Department of Transportation is instituting a pilot program featuring dockless (station-less) bike sharing. The program started September 20 and will run through April 2018. There are four new companies participating in the pilot: LimeBike, Mobike, Jump, and Spin. These systems allow riders to find bicycles near their location, unlock the bike, ride it, and with some restrictions, lock and leave the bike in any public space within the service area.
Guests have taken Capital Bikeshare to our tours in the past. And, not by accident, two of our tours (War Commemorations and Secret Symbols of the Lincoln Memorial) begin at the Capital Bikeshare Station near the Lincoln Memorial. It's a great, easy to find landmark. Unfortunately, the new pilot program for dock-less bike systems do not allow users to finish a ride on the National Mall. Hopefully that changes in the future. Either way, visitors to DC and residents have another car-free way to explore the city!