Every Capital Bikeshare member knows the frustration. After a pleasant commute downtown, you arrive at your office, only to find that the nearest Bikeshare dock is full, with nowhere to ditch your bike. No problem: You head to the next-closest station; it’s full, too. You pull out your phone and check the app, and see that the closest dock with available slots is half a mile away. You might as well have walked to work.
In short: You’ve been dock-blocked.
Now, for the first time, Bikeshare is introducing a fix. At two downtown stations, the program will be providing “guaranteed open docks” on weekday mornings. At 21st and I streets NW and at 13th Street NW and New York Avenue, Bikeshare will set up corrals between 7 and 11 a.m. on weekdays. That means that if the dock is full, Bikeshare will have a staff member on hand to collect your bike.
Bikeshare is rolling out the service this Thursday. It’ll continue through the end of September, and may continue or expand after that if demand is high enough.
But before you declare victory against the dock-block, remember that it takes two to bike-share: a cooperative station on either end of your ride. Even if your commute downtown now has a guaranteed happy ending, it won’t do you any good if you get dock-blocked by an empty dock at the start of your trip.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery