Capital Bikeshare Company Analysis Paper Example

7 pages
1867 words
University of California, Santa Barbara
Type of paper: 
Research paper
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Capital Bikeshare is a bicycle sharing system which serves Washington D.C; Arlington, county Virginia and Alexandria among another region. The company has more than 3700 bikes that are available at 440 stations in these regions. Capital Bikeshare provides residents and visitors with a convenient, fun and affordable transportation alternatives from one place to another. Capital Bikeshare, like any other bike share system, comprises of the fleet that is well designed, durable bikes and sturdy which are locked into a network of docking stations in the entire region. The visitors can unlock the bike from stations and return to any station within the system, making them ideal for the one-way trip. People use Capital Bikeshare to commute to various places such as schools, workplaces, recreational places and more. Riders can access the bikes at any given station across the system. The companys services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.

The history

The District of Columbia became the first city in North America launches a bike sharing system in the year 2008. The bikes that were offered by SmartBike DC were 120 and were stationed in 1o stations across the city. During the SmarkBike first two years in service, approximately 1600 individuals joined the ride. During this particular period, Arlington was working on coming up with bike share system, and it invited other regions such as VA and Alexandria to work with them. In the year 2010, Arlington chose an operator and started Capital Bikeshare which later developed and begun serving five regions with more than 3700 bikes and 45o stations located in strategic parts.

Company objective

to transform our community by providing a high quality, convenient and affordable bicycle transit system that will connect people to more places where they live, work, and play in the region.


To transform our community by providing a high quality, convenient and affordable bicycle transit system that will connect people to more places where they live, work and play in the region.


Life connected by pedal strokes.

Current Situation

Washington D.C looked into implementing a bike share system early, debuting in 2008 through a pilot program which was referred to as SmartBike DC. The program did not last for a longer period, and the came with a more costly program which is now referred to as Capital Bikeshare in 2010. The Capital Bike share mainly relied on the funding from the government to capital its operations but offsets an essential portion of the cost through user fee generated income. The company uses public funding model where various government entities have, and the city government has been responsible for the entire investment and cost of operation. The companys planning and implementation expenses account for $ 6 million of Capital Bikeshares cost with an extra additional operating costs of $3.2 million for 100 stations. Us transportation depart has continued to help the company when it comes to the cost of operation. The operating cost share for Arlington County is now funded by the contribution from the public that comprises of public transportation and the Virginia Railway Department as well as subsidies from Arlington County Transportation. More than 50% of yearly operating expenses of the system comes from the user fee revenue. The government funded for its expansion whereby it paid for the 200 bikes and 20 stations in the Rockville and Shady Grove areas in 2011. The company implemented a five-year physical plan that runs from 2012 to 2018.


The table shows the expected

The table shows the predictable cost and revenues for Capital Bikeshare Arlington that is operating on a deficit. However, the company is being funded by the government hence it is financially secure and this is the reason why it continues to operate even at a deficit. Advertisement revenue would further enable the business to be more self-dependent.


The table shows the projected capital expenses and revenue for Arlington portion of Capital Bikeshare. At the moment, there is no deficit for capital funding. The company will continue to need funding from government sources to maintain a surplus. The company is expanding in next year, and it plans to remain competitive even as new competitors flood the industry. The company is believed to expound on its market in 2018 with the addition of more than 100 stations, more bikes, and a larger area.

SWOT Analysis


Sixty-five percent of bike-share members reported using Capital Bikeshare to access various destinations such as workplaces, leisure activities among others.

Eighty-five percent of jobs are within a quarter-mile of the bike-share station.

Downtown shows the utmost amount of trip generation and is well served by bicycle infrastructure and well networked.

The location of major hotels and famous tourist attraction destination are a quarter mile away from the Capital bike-share station.

Nearly forty percent of residents live within a quarter-mile of the bike-share station.

The current bicycle infrastructure network well served by Capital Bikeshare

Forty-five percent of residents that live in high population density Census Block is within a quarter-mile of Capital Bikeshare

Within the core of the city, the bike-share system connect well to public service destination


Due to high demand, the system struggles to keep stations operation in particular regions during peak seasons

The current Capita Bikeshare system has critical coverage gaps in regions that have a high rate of obesity.

There are poor connections to public service destinations in areas such as Anacostia River and Wet of Greek Park.

From the revenue generating standpoint, a lot of highest ridership stations are not normally the most significant stations from a revenue-generating standpoint.

The company has various gaps when it comes to serving regions that are densely populated.


There is the existence of wayfinding information within major bus stations that direct riders to the nearest bike-share station.

Bikeshare saves time as compared to bus trip

The bike-share system can play an essential role in the provision of support to the growing employment centers such as NoMa.

The nearness of bike-share stations to hotels and other recreational centers are likely to provide much-needed support to more tourist during their visits.

The tourist destinations that are outside the town which at the moment have bike share stations could be integrated into the network with the addition of a few stations.


Some stations which are based in the east of Anacostia River lack bicycle infrastructure within a quarter-mile

The existence of steep slopes which pose a notable barrier to cycling in some regions.

Serving top tourist destinations remains a challenge due to restrictions from the federal government that prohibits locating of federal bicycle grounds.

Serving auto-oriented commercial corridors is difficult due to the safety of the riders such as New York.

Best practices: (2 Pages)

Research and analysis of innovative ideas from other bike-share programs to access

There exist some companies that offer bike share system, until recently, most of this companies have started to be innovative to increase awareness and ridership among international tourists on what it has been commonly referred to as city bikes for tourist. One of this company is Docomo bike-share of Japan that has collaborated with Japan Travel with the aim of targeting more tourist to use the bike-share system. The number of foreign tourists who visit Japan has already exceeded 20 million this year, and the official target of forty million appears attainable (Fishman,2016). Based on this trend, the partners have come up with a strategy of combining Travels expertise in marketing and selling for foreign travelers that come to Japan, with Docomo bike-share who are the expertise in running bicycle. The two partners have come up with various innovation with the intention of promoting bicycle tours and daily passes as a mean for tourist to get to freely move within Japan and enhance their interaction with the local people. Japan travel has established a smartphone based cycling tours which take tourist to famous and areas which are less traveled to; it has marketed and sold both directly through its website. On the other hand, Docomo Bikeshare has used this development to promote sharing services as an interesting tourism resource and assisted the resident to benefit from the improving tourism sector.

The other best practices are the use of SmartTrip system that offers tourist access to both buses and metro. The system provides tours information in various languages and helps the visitors to locate deeper insight into the neighborhood around them. The system also helps them in their planning, booking and can enjoy exclusive and unforgettable cycling experience. The bike-share companies have structured their system to attract more tourists. Guests can choose between one day to three-day membership. One day goes for between $ 7 to 10 while the three-day membership goes for more than $15 depending on the company. There is also a yearly plan, and this is for residents who pay a fee of $80 once or can choose to pay monthly through the fee might be high a little bit. The interesting part is the mode of payment before you get to ride. Also, dockless bike share programs that appear to have expanded to New York City. For example, LimeBike has claimed to be the fastest growing dockless bike-share in the united states. The company has partnered local businesses and schools to provide subsidy-free services. Every ride costs $1, and this is a thirty minutes ride for students and no time limit. The bikes a GPS and 3G enabled and allowed riders to locate nearby bikes using the android or ios limeBike application. The moment the rider is finished, he/she can lock the back wheel manually and park the bike at the designated bike rack. The GPS locator has enabled riders to look for the nearby parking rack since it is not a must that you park where you got the bike from, and this reduces the accrued fee that most bike share programs impose in the event they stay with the bike for long (Gast et al. 2015).

Recommended Strategies:

Capital Bikeshare should impress simplicity. Tourist is individuals who want to visit different places within the shortest time possible. As such, capital Bikeshare should ensure that the process of locating paying and releasing a bicycle should be user-friendly and fast. The Bikeshare should ensure that there is no pre-registration before using their service. Alternatively, they should allow online registration of membership whereby individuals can swipe their credit card at any kiosk, get the card and unlock the bike without seeking physical membership.

Another strategy to get tourist to use capital bike share is through friendly pricing. The company has a high advantage since it is financed by the government and it can help us this to price lower to attract more tourist. The pricing will encourage short local trips. For example, the company can charge $1 or $2-day pass and a free first thirty minutes hire. Charging lower prices, in this case, is a strategy for increasing market while defending an existing market from new entrants. Since most of the bike-share system is privately owned and use privately operated business model, they find it hard to compete with Bikeshare by pricing. Therefore, with its existing business model, the company is capable of utilizing this strategy to increase its market share (Parkes et al.2013).The other strategy is integration with travel companies. Most o...

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