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2 millionth rider signals next major Bikeshare milestone

Friday - 5/18/2012, 1:53pm  ET

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''It is a big operation, it is a logistical challenge for sure, but they can see exactly how many bikes there are at each station...and react accordingly. We're constantly refining that piece of it,'' says John Lisle, spokesman for DDOT. (WTOP)

Not all commuters need a special day to bike

WTOP's John Aaron

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Paul D. Shinkman, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Capital Bikeshare can't seem to get away from major milestones on important dates.

The celebration of its 1 millionth rider occurred precisely on the one-year anniversary of the start of the D.C. and Arlington public system in 2010. Eight months later, its 2 millionth rider occurred hours before Bike to Work Day.

Last month, the system set a new record with 174,000 riders in April. It has chalked up 15,000 annual members, and is planning to expand into other regional such as Rockville, into Alexandria and Capitol Hill.

"It's tough to keep up with demand, especially on nice days," says John Lisle, spokesman for the D.C. Department of Transportation, one of the regional agencies that works with the program management company Alta Bicycle Share.

"It's something that's becoming a part of the fabric of our cities," he says.

"We're trying to provide more density, more stations, more bikes, more docks in the places where Bikeshare is successful, and expand."

Accommodating the increasing number of users is a delicate balancing act. Lisle points to areas such as Columbia Heights, where many cyclists use the network to cycle downhill to get to work. Fleets of Capital Bikeshare vans gather up the bikes at central docks downtown 25 at a time, and truck them back up to these kinds of neighborhoods so another wave of riders can use them within the same rush hour.

"It is a big operation, it is a logistical challenge for sure, but they can see exactly how many bikes there are at each station...and react accordingly," says Lisle. "We're constantly refining that piece of it."

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)