Automobiles

Breaking: Affluent, Well-Educated White Guys Dig Bicycle Subsidies for Affluent, Well-Educated White Guys

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"Washington, D.C.'s Capital Bikeshare: Tax $$$ for Rich, Educated, White Riders," a new ReasonTV video by Jim Epstein and Kennedy, has elicited a number of critical responses from a wide range of rich, educated bike enthusiasts bothered that anybody would take issue with subsidizing the habits of the relatively well-off.

The video notes that the program has received around $16 million in federal, state, and local subsidies and, according to the program's newest user survey, is used exclusively by well-educated, mostly affluent, and mostly white folks. The video makes the bold and apparently novel argument that while biking is fun and wonderful and all kinds of awesome, there is no good goddamn reason that cash-strapped taxpayers should be subsidizing the preferences of elites.

The always-interesting Felix Salmon of Reuters argues that since "the government subsidy for bikeshare is basically a rounding error in the grand transportation budget," there's no reason to sweat it. Indeed, he writes, to cut a subsidy despite evidence of customers' ability to pay is "silly." I prefer to think that what's silly is politicians using tax money to sweeten a deal that should be covered by markets. 

Then there's Salon's Will Doig, who says that the Bikeshare program is "something to celebrate" as upwards of "four thousand people use it every day."

Doig is exercised by the class consciousness of the video, because it's one thing for liberals to get pissed at handouts for the well-off but libertarians just don't seem to have the same street cred:

It's an argument that's carefully calculated to befuddle people who are used to arguing against inequality, and who typically rage against the idea of government handouts for the well-off. Suddenly, bikeshare users are being asked to justify a publicly funded system that's not used by everybody equally.

Except that we don't have to justify it, because it's public transportation.

Two things come to mind: First, you don't have to be a self-identified "bleeding-heart libertarian" to be pissed off at a political economy that systematically screws the very people it so often claims to be helping (though it helps). And as for Reason specifically, we spend a helluva lot time railing against subsidies that go to the wealthy and well-connected, whether we're bitching and moaning about Solyndra-style scams, the mortage-interest deduction, or rail, a form of public transportion that is overwhelmingly preferred (at least in theory) by plutocrats and typically funded by reductions in less-dreamy forms of transit such as buses that are favored by the hoi polloi. (To his credit, Doig shows a nice libertarian streak in complaining about restrictions on developing historical areas, smoking outside, and more.)

The Washington Post's Mike DeBonis spins a variation on the but-it's-so-small-a-subsidy argument ("Taxpayers subsidize every mode of transportation in some measure"), noting that the Bikeshare subsidies are a lot less than a $300 million bridge project. Seriously. Yes, comparing handouts for a bike business to building a bridge. Wotta bargain! His big finish?:

So why, as Reason puts it, "are affluent, educated, and employed whites riding taxpayer-subsidized bikes?" The red-herring issue of user demographics aside, it's an odd polemic for lovers of freedom and limited government to undertake. Compared to the bulk of government transportation spending, Bikeshare's proven to be relatively cheap, effective and extremely popular.

Yes, it is a red herring to point out that the folks using a tax-subsidized program could afford to pay for it on their own. Especially given how flush with cash all levels of government are, right? DeBonis implies that Bikeshare folks are just barely getting by because they are, as a group, less rich than other area residents. As Bikeshare's survey notes, a mere 39 percent of users had incomes of $100,000 or more, compared with 65 percent of all regional workers! (To get a sense of where all that dough is coming from, watch this Kennedy interview with Andrew Ferguson about the capital district's parasitic economy.)

Finally, there is Will Sommer of Washington CityPaper, who takes ReasonTV to task for not pointing out that a $1.3 million federal grant aimed at "addressing the unique challenges transportation challenges faced by welfare recipients and low-income persons seeking to obtain and maintain employment" hasn't yet kicked in:

It turns out that Montgomery County's Bikeshare grant doesn't start until later this summer, a fact that goes unmentioned in Reason's piece.

"You may think it's dissembling to include that grant," Reason editor-in-chief Nick Gillespie told me. Maybe! Gillespie, not surprisingly for a libertarian editor, has qualms about the government funding Bikeshare no matter who's using it. But it certainly seems cheeky to criticize Bikeshare for failing to attract less-affluent users before that part of the program's even started.

Cheeky isn't the word I'd use. Again, note that according to Bikeshare's own survey (which some defenders of the program point out relies on web replies, is self-selecting, uses months-old data, etc.) that zero percent of current users have only a high school diploma. As I told the good-natured Sommer on the phone, I'm happy to check back in next year and see just how far that awesome-sounding subsidy moves the needle in terms of poor people using Bikeshare, especially to get to and from work in an area known for some of the most unpredictable and disgusting weather on the Eastern Seaboard.

I get that the folks above dig the program and don't mind commandeering some of our money to help them feel good about things. But if we're going to spend a million bucks on subsidizing commutes for poor people, why not just buy them bikes? As for the rest of us, if you can afford to rent a bike, why not do so on your own dime? As Kennedy notes in the vid: "We all know biking is awesome, but we don't need government programs to pay for it."

Indeed, if even such a minor and fanciful outlay as subsidies for a bike-renting business elicit such pushback, is it any wonder that we're so fucking broke at all levels of government?

Reason on transportation, mass and minor, which is indeed a hotbed of awful subsidies and boondoggles.

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  1. How hard is it to say, “You’re right, I care about poor people and this program gets in the way of government helping the needy. Let’s cut it and spend more on those who are truly hurting.” These responses really show how out of touch liberals have become, and how far they’ve strayed from their aspirations.

    I’ve never seen a conservative or libertarian wholeheartedly defend a corporation the way these guys bat for government.

    1. Democrats (and to perhaps a lesser degree liberals and progressives) will apparently defend any government subsidy, even to the rich.

      You can take a look at some of the amendments to the awful farm bill voted on.

      Ban subsidies paid to millionaires: Mostly Republicans approving it, opponents almost all Democrats.

      Go further and ban payments for those making over $250,000? Only crazy right-wingers would vote for that.

      1. “Democrats (and to perhaps a lesser degree liberals and progressives) will apparently defend any government subsidy, even to the rich.”

        I don’t think Democrats/liberals/etc. really care WHO gets the subsidy. They only care WHAT the subsidy does (or what they think it does).

        They think more people should ride bikes. If they believe Bikeshare subsidies increase biking, then they’ll defend it.

        Similarly, they think that no one should make profit. Therefore, if cutting capital gains taxes helps people make profits, then they’ll call it a “subsidy for the rich” and oppose it.

        I have nothing against biking (see my user id) but biking should stand on its own as fun, healthy and cost effective. It shouldn’t need a bunch of extra tax dollars.

        1. Yes, I think that this is accurate.

          Strange, then, that President Obama said during the debates that he would oppose capital gains being taxed at a lower rate even if it led to more growth, jobs, and prosperity.

          1. …and the trees are all kept equal
            by hatchet, axe and saw.

        2. Anybody who believes in free markets and competition thinks nobody should make a profit. To believe otherwise is to expect markets to work inefficiently. And isn’t the point of a free market to be efficient?

          If you don’t understand this, it’s time to take an economics course.

          1. Actually, no, the point of the free market is to be free.

            I don’t care about what you or anyone else considers efficient. I do care about people being free.

            If people are free they can decide for themselves what’s efficient.

            1. Efficient for them…that is.

  2. But it certainly seems cheeky to criticize Bikeshare for failing to attract less-affluent users before that part of the program’s even started.

    Is it cheeky to criticize Bikeshare because it was apparently launched only for affluent users, with the po’ folk being told to wait in line?

  3. Or they could just admit the subsidy was intended to promote a certain lifestyle choice rather than trying to pretend “the poor” had anything to do with it. It doesn’t take a genius to notice that in America even “the poor” aren’t so poor (yet) that they have to ride a bicycle to work.

    1. It’s actually more expensive to rent these bikes that it is to take the Metro or the bus, which is how “poor” people get around in DC. Parking is expensive.

      1. Incorrect. You can use CaBi every single day and it will only cost $75 a year, the bus is more like $500 a year.

    2. The program was intended to enable more people who wanted to bike the freedom to do so, and in the process move people towards cleaner and more active transportation. It was not designed with providing poor transportation in mind. For the Rockville program – the one that got the grant – that will be a goal, but that program hasn’t started yet.

  4. “Hey. Nice rack.” LOL. Too bad this isn’t canoe sharing. She probably could have gotten General Manager guy to say that black people can’t swim.

  5. Except that we don’t have to justify it, because it’s public transportation.

    LOL. So I guess if they started funding ukulele bands that would be okay since poor people can listen too.

    That is pathetic.

    1. Yeah, that’s the worst of a terrible crop of rationalizations.

    2. No, what he meant was is that he doesn’t have any good answer to the issue and thinking of a snappy retort makes his brain hurt.

    3. I think his point is that it’s like you know good for the earth and environment and all, to get people to use public transportation, even in the form of rich people riding bikes.

      Presumably poor people will still benefit from the .000000001 degree cooler climates that result 75 years from now thanks to this program.

    4. You have to read the rest of Doig’s article. He adds “And if it’s public transportation, it gets subsidized, whether libertarians like it or not. We’ve always subsidized public transportation for a boatload of good reasons: It reduces congestion, it raises property values, and most cities function much better with it than without it. If the Reason reporter disagrees with public-transportation funding in general (and I suspect that she does) then that’s the argument she should make, rather than pretend this is about the fairly small amount of funding for this bikeshare.”

  6. IIRC, the bike share program was used as an example of gentrification during the Fenty administration and why people should vote for Gray. bike lanes too. and a Korean lady in charge of the schools.

  7. Is it just me, or does everyone’s argument seem to boil down to some form of “Free government money is popular, so we need more free government money”?

    “Except that we don’t have to justify it”. Truer words were never spoken.

  8. I remember the Bikeshare idea being sold in my city as a way to alleviate traffic congestion and the healthy-lifestyle thing.

    Btw, I see very few –if any — low-income Bikeshare riders here.

    1. That’s because intentions matter; results do not.

  9. “Taxpayers subsidize every mode of transportation in some measure”

    Why should that be offered as a defense of the program, instead of a sign that things are absurdly screwed up? If you’re subsidizing/artificially encouraging everything, then you’re really not encouraging much of anything. You’re just making government the equivalent of one of those whirlwind money-grab booths.

    1. Because it shows that we can save money by moving people from heavily subsidized modes like driving to lightly subsidized modes like bikeshare.

  10. Except that we don’t have to justify it, because it’s public transportation.

    Because fuck you that’s why.

    1. You have to read the rest of Doig’s article. He adds “And if it’s public transportation, it gets subsidized, whether libertarians like it or not. We’ve always subsidized public transportation for a boatload of good reasons: It reduces congestion, it raises property values, and most cities function much better with it than without it. If the Reason reporter disagrees with public-transportation funding in general (and I suspect that she does) then that’s the argument she should make, rather than pretend this is about the fairly small amount of funding for this bikeshare.”

  11. The local gov is trying to start this in Fort Worth. I think there is one location and I’ve never seen anyone riding one of the ugly-ass bikes.

    1. I didn’t even know they had it in Houston till Reason listed it in the previous article. Looked it up, all three of their locations are in downtown which anybody who has been here knows is fucking retarded.

      1. Riding a bike in Houston as a means of transporation is pretty fucktarded in general.

        1. At least there’s no hills… 110% humidity triple digit heat index, sure. But no hills.

          1. Yeah it’s not like it’s much cooler in Austin and they have tons of hills. It’s quite nice to bike here outside the summer.

  12. I think the point is libertarians don’t ever care about the poor unless they’re using them to poke liberals in the eye over something.

    1. Are you talking about intentions, Tony, or results?

      1. When does T o n y ever care about results? He still thinks PelosiCare is going to work.

      2. Both, though your results are the much worse crime.

        1. T o n y|6.22.12 @ 8:03PM|#
          “Both, though your results are the much worse crime.”

          Lies, shithead.

        2. Take a look at the pathologies your welfare-state policies have rought about and know just how fucked up your statement is.

          1. Whereas liberals only care about the poor when they can bribe them into voting for Democrats by way of dangling welfare carrots in front of them.

    2. Well, you can’t eat them. All they feed on is garbage. You should be grateful that they have any use at all.

      1. I think poor people are revolting, which is why I don’t want an economic system guaranteed to make more of them.

        Good luck relying on church charities only. Hope you like human feces on your lawn.

        1. T o n y|6.22.12 @ 8:04PM|#
          “I think poor people are revolting, which is why I don’t want an economic system guaranteed to make more of them.”

          So, shithead, you continue to support exactly that.

        2. Gee, Toady, maybe correlation isn’t causation but don’t you ever wonder about the fact that all the while through an ever expanding welfare state poverty has increased.

          Oh, wait, you actually believe that social programs have been cut and that we’re now living in the perfect libertarian society.

          It would be easier to take you seriously if everything you believed wasn’t utter bullshit. I still wonder though whether liberals like you actually believe this bullshit or whether you just keep repeating it as a means to get votes and political power.

          Since your lot has been firmly in control of almost the entire apparatus of government for the last eighty years or so, it’s pretty hard to blame all the bad outcomes on the libertarians.

          1. Wow… he accuses US of hating poor people, but he finds them “revolting”.

            Must be that bigoted hate-boner he has for “breeders”.

  13. God what a collection of nerds.

  14. Okay, let me play Devil’s advocate here. Since a bike path would naturally be cut across multiple properties, both public and private, and would be difficult to restrain access to once built for the purposes of charging fares, is there some valid point here that it can be legitimately deemed a “public good,” as opposed to, say, a light rail or bus system?

    1. Okay, never mind, I shoulda WTFV first. I thought it was paths, not the fucking bikes themselves. Jesus, how goddamned stupid.

  15. Except that we don’t have to justify it, because it’s public transportation.

    You’re shitting me, right? A bike, a bicycle, something that you can buy at Toys ‘r Us for under 100 bucks, something you can easily get on Craigslist, something you can get off the fucking curb in front of someone’s house for free, becasue their kid has outgrown it is public transportation?

    I’ve bought shoes that cost more than a bike. So where’s my sweet fucking check for my shoe leather?

    1. But you don’t get the feeling of being part of the collective effort doing that.

      1. I ask that question rhetorically, but I know that every time I do that, I’m just giving them ideas.

    2. Maybe you live in DC and you don’t have room to store it. Bikes are better than cars so why not encourage their use? As stated, we subsidize every form of transportation, not least cars.

      1. T o n y|6.22.12 @ 8:06PM|#
        “Maybe you live in DC and you don’t have room to store it.”

        In which case, lock it outside, shithead.
        ——————————
        “Bikes are better than cars so why not encourage their use?”

        Lie, shithead.

      2. Bikes are better than cars

        As someone who has biked to work every day for the past five years in Nashville, I firmly disagree. Bikes are cheaper than cars, and in heavy traffic they’re quicker over short distances. Only in a very specific, short list of contexts are bikes better than cars.

        1. Only in a very specific, short list of contexts are bikes better than cars.

          …a list that seems to describe urban commuting pretty closely. Particularly when you include the parking issues.

          Of course, in some places you’d have to be in really good shape, like here in Pgh, but DC ought to be fine.

          1. I’d try biking to work, but it would take me about three hours, based on the one time I tried riding to the next-largest city where the jobs are, and I was too young to HAVE a job then.

            The Tonys of the world, however, would love to force me to ride almost twenty miles, down a four-lane highway, just to satiate their dream of automobiles only for use by politicians.

          2. When it’s hot it sucks. When it’s cold it sucks. When it’s raining it sucks. If you don’t have a good bike or you’re not a skilled rider, it’s dangerous. Do you think that low-income workers commuting to their jobs would be able to show up sweaty, dirty, or rain-soaked? Do you think they would have a locker or showers so they could clean up and put on more appropriate clothes?

            “Free” bikes are not the answer to helping the low-income worker get to work. A fully liberalized transit system is.

      3. Bikes are better than cars? New shit from Tony all the time!

    3. There has to be a government shoe program by now. I heard one about the old Soviet Union, maybe it was a joke but you never know, that when they could not produce enough shoes with one factory they declared that everybody did not need shoes.

    4. Sub-$100 bikes at Toys R Us are pieces of shit that something will break on within a week of intensive riding. So dispense with that canard.

      Ditto for kids bikes ridden by adults. Geez, let’s be serious.

      How much does a bus seat cost?

      1. So dispense with that canard.

        You could use them daily and probably get a year’s worth of use out of them. Plenty of bang for the buck. And nope, that very nice $250 bike at the sporting goods store is imaginary, just like the used bikes.

        Your debating techniques are so fucking irritatingly insipid that it should sadden any thinking person. It’s like arguing with a 14 year old.

        1. Dude, I’m not the one who put forth the possibility of an adult using a bike found on the side of the road as a commuting strategy. And you’re just talking out of your ass on the Toys R Us bikes; have you ever ridden those daily and had them last a year? That’s an extraordinary claim. I’ve seen too many kids riding them around the store and then jamming them back into the rack to believe it.

          And nope, that very nice $250 bike at the sporting goods store is imaginary, just like the used bikes.

          Which you didn’t fucking bring up. Maybe if you posited a realistic alternative rather than a ridiculous one we wouldn’t have had to have this conversation.

          1. What would a day be without thickheaded pedantry be like for you, Tulpa?

            I posited, through a few reasonable examples, of how ridiculously inexpensive bikes are to be considered anything remotely like public transportation, a system that is public, due to it’s overwhelming cost. What that toady little fuck wrote is one of the more dishonest things I’ve read in recent memory.

            That you have problems grokking this, and can only nip at heels with your pissy and dishonest passive-aggressiveness, isn’t too surprising.

            Now, back to whomever else you were annoying, Gladys.

    5. People use bikes to get to work and run errands. And these bikes are public or shared. So yes, that’s public transportation. But maybe if you throw more profanities in there, you’ll seem more convincing.

  16. Bikeshare’s proven to be relatively cheap, effective and extremely popular.

    Well now, if it’s so popular, if it’s so goddamned cheap, it should be able to stand on it’s own without reaching into my pocket for that, doncha think there, sport?

    1. You mean unlike automobile transportation, which requires subsidies to defend its fuel sources and build roads for it?

      And the gas tax does NOT cover road building and maintenance.

      1. They’re required? Or happily accepted?

      2. In addition, “building roads for it” is a complete misdirection of what’s going on here.

        I have no problem with the roads being built which are used for buses, cars, bikes (rented, owned), pedestrians.

        I’m not going to talk about fuel sources because that’s a long, deep and technical discussion because the price inputs on fuel are completely skewed. The base price of fuel may reflect a lower cost due to subsidies, but then gas taxes greatly distort that upward, etc.

        But the vehicle itself deserves no subsidy– Yes, I’m looking you, white, affluent, college educated Prius Drivers (aka toonies).

        If we’re comparing apples to apples here, this bike needs subsidies no more than Hertz, Rentawreck or Uhaul needs a subsidy.

      3. And while I’m on it, the continuous ‘gotchas’ by pointing to other subsidies and saying, “Huh? Huh? See? Huh? Now what about that?” is a waste of air.

        All the subsidies should be killed (yes, including the ones I benefit from) because that way, the real price inputs of things can be seen/detected/felt, and that way we can get a truer picture of what things really cost, what works, what’s actually hurting the environment vs. what might actually be helping it.

        So if it costs more for Organic Jim to drive a bushel of strawberries to the farmers market in his 57 stepside cherry-red pickup (charming as it may be), it’s likely that Organic Jim is spewing more carbon into the air than the multi-national which shipped 12 tons of strawberries from Venezuela.

        1. Don’t you know Paul? If you’re against subsidies for rich people on bikes, then you MUST be in favor of all of the other subsidies.

          It’s just how it works. If you were a annoying, contrarian-for-the-sake-of-contrariness fuck, you’d know that.

      4. And the gas tax does NOT cover road building and maintenance.

        I’m pretty sure that my taxes into the general funds make up a significant amount of the difference.

        OTOH, it’s a real stumper to figure out how to bridge any revenue gap when the user fee is set too low. Gosh darn it, how can we solve that very vexing problem? Out Top Men have thrown up their hands on it.

        1. Actually, the gas tax would cover a lot more of the cost of the costs of road building costs if so much of it was not diverted to facilities for uses other than automobile and truck travel.

          In addition to the 15-20% funneled of into mass transit (together with the fact that most, if not all, states and federal government exempt mass transit vehicles from the fuel tax even though they are used on public roads), the part of it used for bike trails, hiking trails and sidewalks pushes the total to close to forty percent.

          It’s kind of disingenuous to say that roads are subsidized when only about sixty percent of the supposedly dedicated revenue source (paid almost exclusively by drivers) is ever used to build them.

          1. “the part of it used for bike trails, hiking trails and sidewalks pushes the total to close to forty percent.”

            That is not correct. It adds maybe 1-2%. And a lot of it is paid for out of money not used on roads, like ATVs and snowmobiles.

    2. The critical word here is “relatively.” Bikesharing isn’t so cheap that it will make the kind of money that attracts investors. If it did, there would already by private businesses filling this space.

  17. 2.5 out of 3.

  18. Things White People Like And Will Fight You In the Thunderdome to Defend if You Harsh Them About

  19. alt alt text: Who the hell cycles in jeans?

    1. Unserious cyclists.

      If you’re not wearing spandex, a Cinzano tee-shirt and have a critical mass sticker on your Prius, you ain’t for real.

      Further meaning if you’re biking in Jeans, I give you a wider berth on the road because there’s a much lesser chance you’re going to do something that will piss me off. You’re just using your bike to get from A to B, you’re not making a political statement with it. Which means you earn extra respect.

  20. Except that we don’t have to justify it, because it’s public transportation.

    Wow, that line tells you all you need to know. “We don’t have to justify shit, because we like it.”

    1. This is basically the extent of the left’s rhetorical skillz. “Except that we don’t have to justify it, because its…”

      – Healthcare
      – Education
      – teh drugz warz
      – For the environment
      – For minorities

      etc, etc, ad infinitum

    2. So why not free golf carts? Skateboards? I’d love to see a pogo stick lane.

    3. You have to read the rest of Doig’s article. He adds “And if it’s public transportation, it gets subsidized, whether libertarians like it or not. We’ve always subsidized public transportation for a boatload of good reasons: It reduces congestion, it raises property values, and most cities function much better with it than without it. If the Reason reporter disagrees with public-transportation funding in general (and I suspect that she does) then that’s the argument she should make, rather than pretend this is about the fairly small amount of funding for this bikeshare.”

  21. The red-herring issue of user demographics aside, it’s an odd polemic for lovers of freedom and limited government to undertake. Compared to the bulk of government transportation spending, Bikeshare’s proven to be relatively cheap, effective and extremely popular.

    —-Mike DeBonis

    Problem is, this isn’t the only federal program that does this–it’s just one example.

    I remember when ObamaCare was supposed to help poor working people get health insurance–somehow it ended up so that when working poor people judge themselves too poor to buy health insurance?

    ObamaCare sics the IRS on them!

    How many programs that hurt working poor people were originally justified as a program to help poor people?

    The correct answer is lots.

  22. I like where this is going. If we can shut this down, maybe we can shutdown the DC Metro with the same argument: it’s taking money away from busses, which poorer people ride than the Metro. Then we can shut down the busses, because we’ll say it’s taking money away from people who are too poor to even ride busses. We’ll have the whole government shut down eventually.

    1. I don’t see why we need to shut the whole government down.

      Just the completely wrongheaded absurdly dysfunctional parts, which is admittedly a nice chunk of it.

      And even if you want the government involved in public transportation, surely there must be some way to do it without subsidizing people who don’t need to be subsidized, right?

      Using your weird logic, we should subsidize all sorts of other people who don’t need to be subsidized, too, and then we can triple or quadruple the scope of government–and wouldn’t that be great?

      1. Libertarians: “Shut down bike sharing! It’s taking government money away from poor peoples’ transportation needs!”

        Someone else: “So you favor increasing government spending on poor peoples’ transportation needs?”

        Libertarians: “Fuck, no. Those parisites? Boo hoo, let them walk.”

        1. Xeno, are you trying to out-lie shithead? You have a tough job.

          1. please to be pointing out the lies.

            1. Easy.
              The lie is “Libertarians: “Fuck, no. Those parisites? Boo hoo, let them walk.”
              The rest of your post was nothing other than strawmen to set up the lie.
              Shithead does it morning, noon and night; you’re a piker when it comes to that sort of dishonesty.

              1. Tell me Sevo, by how much should we increase spending on the Washington DC bus system? You know, for the poor folks.

                1. Xenohippus|6.22.12 @ 10:18PM|#
                  “Tell me Sevo, by how much should we increase spending on the Washington DC bus system?”

                  Tell me, Xeno, why are you determined to to prove you’re an ignoramus?
                  Ever hear of ‘false dichotomy’? You can look it up.

                2. Again, using the poor in a bait-and-switch scam to actually subsidize the the rich isn’t just limited to free bicycles.

                  The same thing happens with Social Security and other entitlement programs, where a program intended to provide poor senior citizens with a social safety net ends up forcing the working poor to provide a comfortable retirement for wealthy retired people.

                  There are all sorts of solutions to that problem that do not include getting rid of something like Social Security for poor people–so when libertarians point out that forcing poor people to finance rich people’s retirements is a problem, that doesn’t necessarily mean we want to send the old and poor to the glue factory.

                  You just seem to be projecting what you’ve heard about libertarians onto everything you see–if you can’t differentiate between criticizing using the poor to help the rich and getting rid of government altogether.

                  You may not believe this, but libertarians generally disapproved of using average working people’s future paychecks to bail out Wall Street investors, too. Seriously! Squandering poor people’s paychecks on the rich is something libertarians consistently disapprove of, and if that’s doesn’t fit in with your misconceptions about libertarians, then it isn’t libertarians that need to change.

                  What needs to change is your misconceptions.

                  1. This is not a bait and switch. The point of CaBi, despite what reason has told you, was not to provide transportation for the poor. It was to provide a new transportation option to all residents in the effort to make transportation safer, cheaper, cleaner and more healthy. And it has worked. There was a grant, for a program that has not started, that is targeted at the poor, but using data from before the program starts to show that it’s not working is idiotic. The only bait and switch here is by Reason who told you all that the program was subsidized by a grant to provide transportation to the poor, but that grant hasn’t taken effect yet. The money CaBi has been funded by was for Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality, but they didn’t tell you that. And it appears that everyone here was totally willing to believe Reason’s lies, or too lazy to look up the truth.

        2. Actually, I favor decreasing the govt deficit so poor people aren’t fucked by increased fees and inflation, rather than blowing the money on something that doesn’t help them. (As stated below, I think this program may help them, but if it doesn’t it shouldn’t be done.)

        3. Bike sharing is fine, so long as those doing the sharing pay for it. Why should others pay for bikes for the well-off?

          1. What does it matter if they’re well-off or not? Why should others have to pay for busses for the dirt-poor?

            1. Are you serious? You see no distinction between supplying basic transportation to the dirt poor and bikes to the well-heeled?

              1. 1) Xenohippus seems to think we’re all anarchists. …because criticizing bikes for rich people is just further evidence, apparently, that we want to get rid of the government completely.

                2) Xenohippus thinks libertarians trying to help the poor is like vampires guarding a busload of virgins.

                Conclusion: Xenohippus knows nothing more about libertarians than he or she has heard from friends and family.

                Xenohippus’ preconceptions about libertarians make talking to him or her about libertarianism something like a racist’s preconceptions about minorities make talking to a racist about minorities.

              2. There’s no essential difference: in both cases, the government is taking my wealth by force and redistributing it to others. Or are you saying it’s ok to that only if it helps poor people?

          2. Because the cost of the subsidy to Capital Bikeshare is exceeded by the benefits of the subsidy.

            Capital bikeshare has caused a mode shift in transportation toward more biking.* That is a mode shift from dirtier and noisier forms like driving, taxis, buses and even rail; and, with the exception of walking, from more sedentary modes. In so doing it has helped to reduce congestion and freed up parking (or land previously needed for parking). It has also increased transportation options, enabling trips that previously weren’t deemed worthwhile. According to estimates that MWCOG submitted with their TIGER II application, these benefits are worth about $1.50 per mile, meaning that we’ve already reaped about $3,000,000 in external benefits from the program and should continue to do so for some time. And since CaBi is earning a small profit on operations, even the real cost of the program is less than the $16M in subsidies that Gillespie cites.

      2. without subsidizing people who don’t need to be subsidized

        I don’t see how it makes a difference to a government minimalist whether something benefits all people or only poor people. I prefer programs that have universal access. We don’t need to be checking people’s net worth before they’re allowed on a train. I actually prefer universal programs to be robust enough to minimize the need for subsistence programs.

        Everyone *needs* transportation, especially if you’re going to have a functioning market; that’s why it’s always government subsidized.

        1. T o n y|6.22.12 @ 8:10PM|#
          “I don’t see how it makes a difference to a government minimalist whether something benefits all people or only poor people.”

          As an ignoramus, of course you wouldn’t.

        2. Many existing transit systems (every one I’ve ever ridden on, as far as I know) have differing fares based on whether you’re “low income” or not. Obviously they don’t check your W-2 every time you board the bus, you have a discount card if you’re purportedly poor.

          But it’s not universal access in the sense you speak of.

    2. Sounds like a good plan to me.

      1. It does, doesn’t it? Do you think anyone will catch on that you’ve been arguing in bad faith the whole time?

        1. Xeno, are you trying to out-lie shithead? You have a tough job.

    3. We’ll have the whole government shut down eventually.

      Ooo! That gave me the tingles all over!

    4. We’ll have the whole government shut down eventually.

      *squinting*

      Not seeing a downside here.

  23. And the fact that they’re white has WTF to do with it.

    1. Haven’t you heard? Being white is racist.

      1. No, but not acknowledging and recognizing white privilege is.

        1. Nando|6.22.12 @ 8:17PM|#
          “No, but not acknowledging and recognizing white privilege is.”

          As is not acknowledging the privileges of ‘affirmative action’ enforced by coercion.

        2. STFU Troll.

        3. They have the “privilege” of being in the middle of the Bell Curve for any written test ever devised?

          1. 50 Signs of White Privilege
            http://jimbuie.blogs.com/journ…..s-of-.html

            1. You misspelled “Guilt”

              1. Hey, Nando… how long have you been bigoted against white people?

        4. I want me some white privilege.

    2. I think he’s just using it as emphasis. A lot of the time when liberals try to justify things like this, they say it will help minorities. Pointing out how white a lot of these guys are (in addition to other things) is, I’m pretty sure, just to point out the hypocrisy of that sort of argument. Again though, it’s not a main point of his argument, but is put in there to emphasize how much bullshit this is.

      1. I’m sure that’s correct D. Normally, I would have ignored it butI was already in a little mood about that kind of thing yesterday. I was listening to the radio yesterday morning and there was a piece about an old Buckeye QB, Stanely Jackson who is Black, being nominated for the Ohio Board of Education. There was a little contoversy because he didn’t have a college degree. I didn’t really care about that but they’re interviewing Jackson and he’s excited about coming on so he can work on the problem of African-American HS graduation rates. It’s like why can’t he just say he’s going to work on the problem of HS Graduation rates which are horrible for poor white students too? Why does everything have to be about race? I’m sure Jackson did not mean Fuck the white kids, I’m just here to help “my” people, but that’s how it came across and I’m just so done with that shit. Maybe not having any beer for a week is just making me grumpy:)

      2. Again the primary objective of Capital Bikeshare, and the source of its subsidy, was Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality improvement. That has nothing to do with race or demographics.

  24. I’ve been genuinely poor and this is useless. Why? Because the places where a poor person goes are the grocery store, the laundromat, the babysitter, and work. Where the fuck do you put the groceries,the baby, and the toddler on a bike? Buses are far more useful.

    1. Riding the bus to the grocery store for anything larger than a couple of bags is a PITA.

      Bikes can carry a surprising amount of stuff if you install paniers or trailers. In China I saw guys hauling drywall sections uphill on their bikes.

      1. Do the Rideshare bikes have paniers or trailers? I didn’t think so. Useless.

        1. Maybe it’s a good idea for the future. It’s not an inherent problem with bikes.

          1. Tulpa the White|6.22.12 @ 10:27PM|#
            “Maybe it’s a good idea for the future. It’s not an inherent problem with bikes.”

            Of course not! Why, if you’re motivated, you can haul dry-wall on a bike! In the rain!

            1. You’re not exactly going to be able to get a week’s worth of groceries for a family of four riding a crowded city bus, either.

              The comparison isn’t driving your personal SUV to Walmart stuffed full of groceries.

              1. You’re right. I’m missing you’re cherry-picked comparisons.

                1. “Wah! Cherry picking! Moving goalposts! Strawman! Wah!”

                  I was wondering what the next glibster go-to accusation was going to be.

                  1. Tulpa the White|6.22.12 @ 11:46PM|#
                    “Wah! Cherry picking! Moving goalposts! Strawman! Wah!”

                    Ya know, if you don’t like being called on bullshit, why, don’t post it.

                2. Yeah, totally cherry picked. Did you even read what I was responding to?

                  Because the places where a poor person goes are the grocery store, the laundromat, the babysitter, and work. Where the fuck do you put the groceries,the baby, and the toddler on a bike? Buses are far more useful.

                  1. Tulpa the White|6.22.12 @ 11:48PM|#
                    “Yeah, totally cherry picked. Did you even read what I was responding to?”

                    I stand corrected. That’s not the picking of the cherries, that’s the choosing of the false dichotomies.

                    1. Do argument to authority next! I hardly ever get that one.

              2. God forbid you have to go to the grocery twice in a week.

          2. Maybe it’s a good idea for the future. It’s not an inherent problem with bikes.

            Yeah it is. While you’re correct that hauling groceries is a PITA on the bus, it can be done. Even if you’re partially disabled or have mobility issues.

            I’ll load you up with groceries on your Schwinn with a trailer and have you head up and down Seattle hills on it.

            Which is why in Seattle, a major, MAJOR biking city with a transportation secretary who is a biking activist who believes the entire city should be wallpapered with bike lanes, you never see it.

            1. Add to that hot climates. I am in Atlanta and, save for a very few committed folks, no one cycles to the grocery store. Why? It’s hilly and hot as hell for about 5 months out of the year. So you could bring a bike loaner program here (maybe we already have it) and you’d get the same result, which is, at most, the well-educated whites using the bikes to ride to the park. That’s about it.

    2. The bikes have bike racks for groceries. And about half the trips by annual members are to work.

  25. Tulpa the White|6.22.12 @ 10:14PM|#
    “Bikes can carry a surprising amount of stuff if you install paniers or trailers”

    Yeah, and those are available on the bike-shares?

    1. Maybe if they spend a couple more million. Of course the safety nazis will want to make sure that there’s helmets, and child safety restraint devices and bubblewrap lots and lots of bubblewrap. Don’t forget the taxi lobby will have a fit about carrying passengers and require medallions or special permits/licenses or some crap. And there will be a background check and a 2 year waiting period.
      / partially incoherent rant

      Fuck DC

      1. It will never happen, because the patrons (both citizenry and politicians) of the bike-share will complain that they take up too much room, crowd out the “real” bike-riders, and would all-around ruin the atmosphere of the bike-share business. Which would just help drive home the point of how much bullshit this is, but no one important will care.

      2. Panniers are basically just molded metal rods plus a bolt. They cost $20 individually and would be dirt cheap to buy in bulk.

        1. Sorry, I’m thinking of rear racks. Panniers are a bit more expensive, but still a small fraction of the cost of the bike itself.

        2. Tulpa the White|6.22.12 @ 10:30PM|#
          “Panniers are basically just molded metal rods plus a bolt. They cost $20 individually and would be dirt cheap to buy in bulk.”

          You bet!
          Sorry, Tulpa; one of your worst.
          Yes, ‘someone’ could ‘but them in bulk’, and yes, some folks don’t mind hauling drywall on a bike, especially if you’re living in China where there are no alternatives.
          Are you making a real effort to look stupid this evening?

          1. I would imagine the bikeshare program would buy them in bulk, since they have a lot of bikes to install them on.

            The drywall thing was just to counteract the idea that bikes can’t be used to carry a significant amount of weight, not something I expect average Americans to be doing.

            1. Tulpa the White|6.22.12 @ 10:51PM|#
              “I would imagine the bikeshare program would buy them in bulk, since they have a lot of bikes to install them on.”
              Of course they would; the rich hipsters wouldn’t have to use back-packs! Hey, maybe the hipsters could BUY THEIR OWN DAMN PANNIERS!

              “The drywall thing was just to counteract the idea that bikes can’t be used to carry a significant amount of weight, not something I expect average Americans to be doing.”
              It failed.
              People in 3rd-world countries carry hundreds of pounds on their backs. Are you suggesting that doing that is anything other than desperation?

              1. Ugh, you guys are pretty clumsy at class warfare when you try it.

                No, I’m not expecting people to be running landscaping businesses from their bikes; just saying that carrying groceries on a bike is not the impossible task you make it out to be. You could easily carry the same amount of groceries on a bike with a rear rack and front basket that you could carry on a crowded city bus. Probably more.

                1. Tulpa the White|6.22.12 @ 11:42PM|#
                  “Ugh, you guys are pretty clumsy at class warfare when you try it.”

                  Hey, did strawman permits get cheap?

        3. Panniers are basically just molded metal rods plus a bolt. They cost $20 individually and would be dirt cheap to buy in bulk.

          Some sort of subsidy is in order, then.

    2. It’s not an inherent problem with bikes. There are gazillions of issues with city buses in practice but no one says we need to get rid of them for that reason.

  26. I’m probably going to get flamed for this but I think a program like this might be justifiable as a means of cutting down on traffic congestion, pollution, parking issues, etc. Bikes have pros and cons vs. buses as a means of public transportation, the main con being that they’re not useful to someone who doesn’t know how to ride a bike or is not in good physical shape, and are potentially dangerous for people without the proper equipment and experience. But I could see them being a good, cheap complement to buses.

    The fact that poor people have not availed themselves of the program yet is kind of a low blow…the Reason TV piece does not make an argument as to why the ridership skews wealthy, just that it apparently does. Why can’t that change with wider awareness and cheaper rates?

    1. Why couldn’t they have targeted the non-wealthy in the first place? And environmental reasons weren’t used as a justification in the first place. The reasons they DID use are all bullshit.

      And I doubt this will really cut down on automobile emissions, PRECISELY because it’s being used for leisure rather than day-to-day activities, by people who would likely want to bike anyway, even WITHOUT the subsidy. Not enough people bike enough of the time to justify such a money-sink. And as some other commenters have pointed out, it would be better to just help people purchase their own bikes rather than rent them out.

      1. The problem is that individually owned bikes are going to be sitting idle 90% of the time, while shared bikes are being used a greater fraction of the time. So it’s more efficient.

        I’m not against individual bike ownership, just not convinced that subsidizing that is superior.

        1. Tulpa the White|6.22.12 @ 10:25PM|#
          “I’m probably going to get flamed for this but I think a program like this might be justifiable as a means of cutting down on traffic congestion, pollution, parking issues, etc…”

          Uh, you should be. If all that is a real problem, why the rich folks dealing with it will BUY THEIR OWN DAMN BIKES!

        2. “while shared bikes are being used a greater fraction of the time. So it’s more efficient.”

          Not really. A bicycles utility depends mostly on how often it is used, and loses little while not in use. In other words, it’s much more like a jar of rice than a carton of milk.

          Believe it or not, I was a former professional cyclist before I got old and fat. You cannot become a frequent rider without becoming skilled in the art of bicycle repair. Tubes go flat, treads wear, rims go out of true, brakes wear, spokes break, gears strip (though not nearly as often as you’re warned about when a kid). Generally, if you put 6 miles or more a day on a bike, it’s gonna need plenty of TLC to keep you running. And taking it to a bike shop for everything becomes very costly.

          And in major metropolitan areas, theft is rampant (or at least it was in Chicago in the 90s).

          As my career drew to an end, there was a significant crack down bicycles not obeying traffic laws by police, which then led to a crackdown on bicycle riders obeying traffic laws by cab drivers.

          All of which is to say that most “efficiencies” with regard to bicycles apply only in optimal scenarios. The only efficiency that really stoop up was that of portability: in downtown Chicago, parking a bicycle was a lot easier than parking a delivery truck. I don’t think getting to and from work on a bike was any better than other options.

          1. The same goes for city buses. Again, we’re not comparing a bikeshare program to the family SUV.

            And again, bikeshare programs would have economies of scale to do their repairs in house and buy parts in bulk.

            1. The best comparison is to walking. As long as your in an office all day, walking is superior transit to and from work within a 3 mile one-way commute and probably even up to 6 miles. It’s probably also better exercise per mile.

              After 6 miles, neither one is probably of much use.

              1. Walking does burn more calories per mile, but it also takes longer than biking. We have to understand what the purpose of the program is… if it is to cut down on motor vehicle use and the resulting problems it causes, then you have to make it something people will want to use. Walking three miles to work is no fun; a lot of people will just drive.

                If it’s to provide a form of transportation for people who have no other way, there are going to be problems regardless.

                1. Tulpa the White|6.22.12 @ 11:36PM|#
                  “We have to understand what the purpose of the program is…”

                  That’s be a good starting point. Right now, it looks like the purpose is to spend tax money on a worthless program.

              2. Wait, 6 miles? For most people that’s over 90 minutes (depending on terrain). No way the majority of people are going to devote 3 hours of their day to getting back and forth from work that’s 20 minutes away by automobile.

                1. Well, you could take the train in and walk home (another problem with bicycles is flexibility, take the bike to work, you have to take it home).

                  I know that for several years I had a 5 mile commute to my work and after trying to go the bicycle route, found that walking or train in the morning and walking home was a much better way of accomplishing what I wanted to accomplish.

                  The bicycle riding season is shorter than the walking season (in D.C. you should be able to walk most of the year), you don’t have to worry about theft, can change your mind during the work day on how you want to get home, you don’t have to worry about theft, you don’t have to worry about the bicycle breaking down halfway between, you’re far safer walking on the sidewalk than riding on the street and you have a much wider range of clothing options available to you when you don’t have to worry about riding.

                  As fun and recreation, bicycling is great and as an occasional fun thing to do one day for work, you can probably get away with it. But as transportation it is substandard except in very specific and limited situations.

                  1. “As fun and recreation, bicycling is great and as an occasional fun thing to do one day for work, you can probably get away with it. But as transportation it is substandard except in very specific and limited situations.”

                    Which begs the question of why tax money be used for it at all.

                  2. You’re adding a flerking train to the mix and then talking about flexibility? mmm-kay.

                    If you’ve got a train or a bus available for the route, that’s probably a better option. If the distance is very close, walking is an option. (if there’s not a bus stop or train station nearby, you have zero choice of an alternate way home, btw). I’m not claiming biking is the be all and end all of transit. But it’s not a tiny niche thing either…I mean, most of the urban world commutes by bike.

                    Theft is easily preventable by buying a good lock (or bringing the bike in with you if possible). Bike thieves like other thieves go after easy targets. Biking is also extremely safe; true, walking is “safer”, but neither is at all dangerous if you know what you’re doing.

      2. And environmental reasons weren’t used as a justification in the first place.

        Actually they were. The bulk of the grant money has been CMAQ funding.

        because it’s being used for leisure rather than day-to-day activities,

        Not true. Most of the trips are for transportation. It’s in the same survey that started this all.

        by people who would likely want to bike anyway, even WITHOUT the subsidy

        Again, not true according to the survey. Most people who used CaBi reported that they would not have biked with bikeshare.

    2. The fact that poor people have not availed themselves of the program yet is kind of a low blow

      Poor people won’t avail themselves of the program. I guarantee it.

      Because other forms of cheap transportation abound which, by almost any standard are more convenient, more comfortable and faster.

      1. Not only won’t poor people use the program, but if you put racks of bikes near where poor people live, they will be vandalized. Or, at least, that’s what has happened in other cities. Probably because the bikes are (more or less correctly) perceived as an insult — something imposed on them (for their own good) that they didn’t ask for and don’t want. Bike share programs everywhere are ‘Stuff White People Like’.

        1. There has been almost no vandalism of the bikes, even the ones in the poorest neighborhoods.

      2. Poor people don’t sit around wishing they had a bike. They wish they had a car. When I was poor, I had a bike. But there was no fucking way I was going to ride 15 miles in LA traffic to go to work. So I rode the bus. Every day I wished I could afford a car. Wanna’ help poor people? Buy them a good, cheap used car.

      3. At $75 a year, bikeshare is very cheap. And data shows it’s faster and more reliable than other modes. Many people find it comfortable. You guys aren’t even hitting on the real reasons poor people aren’t using it:

        1) you need a credit card that can handle a $1000 hold.
        2) the poor live east of the river which has more hills and less bike-friendly roads
        3) the poor tend to be older and sicker.

        But the great thing about CaBi is that even if you don’t use it, you benefit from all the external benefits. Gillespie’s logical fallacy lies in pretending that the only beneficiaries of bikesharing are the users. That isn’t true. Cleaner air, cleaner water, safer streets and less congestion benefit everyone. So the poor do benefit.

    3. The fact that poor people have not availed themselves of the program yet is kind of a low blow…the Reason TV piece does not make an argument as to why the ridership skews wealthy, just that it apparently does. Why can’t that change with wider awareness and cheaper rates?

      See, the program only needs a higher subsidy so it can afford better advertising and can charge consumers less. THEN it might work as intended!

  27. The guy in the picture has a trailer of some sort on the bike. Maybe RS does have them.

    1. Tulpa the White|6.22.12 @ 10:54PM|#
      “The guy in the picture has a trailer of some sort on the bike. Maybe RS does have them.”

      Maybe you’ll get a brand-new automated straw-picker for Christmas and save you all that time trying to do it manually!

    2. That “guy” is our President you racist.

  28. DeBonis implies that Bikeshare folks are just barely getting by because they are, as a group, less rich than other area residents. As Bikeshare’s survey notes, a mere 39 percent of users had incomes of $100,000 or more, compared with 65 percent of all regional workers!

    That’s a pretty huge fucking difference and is quite relevant. There may be few people with no college or low income using the service simply because there aren’t that many such people in the area it serves.

    Also, the characterization of “0 percent with only a high school diploma” is misleading. The people with “some college” also only have a high school diploma (and it’s quite likely that “some college” could have come from a community college class here and there, not a full blown college experience).

    1. Checking straw-graspers, this is as close as Amazon gets:
      http://www.amazon.com/Unger-92…..w+graspers
      You’re a bright guy; you can probably do better.

  29. Nowhere in the story do I hear mention of the fact that the Bikeshare program is relatively new and facing start-up costs that are generally associated with any “business”

    I think if that line of reasoning was investigated when the story was written, it would uncover the fact that many businesses when they are new or in expansion mode may loose money as they begin to acquire their “customer” base, and they then in fact turn profitable where they generate more cash then they spend.

    While the rush to “acquire” customers sometimes require “loans” that can’t always be paid back, when we look at some “companies” that expand quickly to get critical mass may spend a lot in the beginning, they sometimes benefit greatly by becoming successful and profitable market leaders in their fields.

    Amazon might be an example.

    And if bike share does really take off and become vastly successful, there will have to be a factoring in of money that is saved from road repair and the like by having less cars on the road that surely “use up” the road faster then bikes.

    Oh – and reason.com – you really should look into your User Experience for a new user registering. Maybe separate the creation of your “public” name from the process of login/password creation but before the account is activated.

    1. Nowhere in the story do I hear mention of the fact that the Bikeshare program is relatively new and facing start-up costs that are generally associated with any “business”

      Perhaps that’s because *every* business goes through front-loaded debt and most manage to do it without picking my pocket. How is that “news?”

      Amazon might be an example.

      Amazon didn’t make a profit for 4 or 5 years and not once that I’m aware of, did they do it on the public teat.

      Compete or die. We all benefit from the process, but BikeShare is doing nothing of the sort. It’s not only getting our tax dollars to pad it’s bottom line, it’s doing it with the state suppressing all competition. It’s hard to see how anyone but it benefits from that.

  30. Here’s what a person on a grocery run would have to do (using Boston as an example and assuming the bike could actually carry a week’s worth of groceries):

    1) Buy a Membership (at it’s lowest it’s $2 per ride)

    2) Walk about 4 blocks to the bike rack.

    3) Rent the bike

    4) Ride to the grocery store. Must figure out a way to lock the bike so it’s there when you get out of the store. Even if you’re lucky and there’s a rack right next to the store, there’s no guarantee someone won’t have rented the bike while you’re in the store.

    5) Ride back to the bike rack. Pay for the time used. Will easily take 45 minutes for a week’s worth of grocery shopping, so it’s $1.50 If it took 60 minutes, it’s $4.50.

    6) Walk back to the house with the groceries. If you ride the bike to the house to put the groceries away first, it’ll take over an hour. And if it took 90 minutes, it’s over ten dollars! Might as well rent a Zipcar then!

    The whole thing makes no economic sense EVEN AT THE SUBSIDIZED PRICES! In short, this is a “feel good” program for people too lazy to think and do math. That’s pretty much the province of upper-middle class people and dopes like TONY; poor people WILL do the math.

    1. If they could do math, would they be poor?

    2. Their pricing structure is batty, I agree. Charging more per hour for longer trips is weird. Also it would actually make more sense, I think, if you didn’t have to return the bike to the same station (ie, you could drop it off at a station near your destination, and then take a different bike back to the place where you started when you’re done shopping).

      Again, Capital Bikeshare is not the quintessential bikeshare program.

      1. Charging more per hour for longer trips is weird

        The point is to encourage use for short trips not all-day joyrides.

        it would actually make more sense, I think, if you didn’t have to return the bike to the same statio

        You don’t. You can drop it off at any station.

        Capital Bikeshare is not the quintessential bikeshare program.

        I don’t think you know enough to judge that.

    3. So, you’ve never used bikeshare have you.

      Step 1 can be done once a year for $75.

      Step 3 involves putting a keyfob in and taking the bike out. It takes about 8 seconds

      Step 4 involves putting your bike in another station. It takes about 2 seconds. You don’t need to bring a lock with you. Dockblocking does happen but it’s rare to have no bikes at a station or no empty docks.

      Step 5 – you don’t have to pay for the time.

      DC’s bikeshare system is turning a small profit over the cost of operations – so it must make SOME economic sense to some people or else why are so many paying for the service?

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