Observant Capital Bikeshare riders in Arlington and Alexandria may have noticed some changes at a few stations in the past months. Older bikeshare station kiosks are gradually moving out to other stations, replaced with new ones that have the ability to dispense bikeshare keys.
This week, new key-dispensing kiosks are coming to the bikeshare stations closest to the Clarendon, Court House, and Pentagon City Metro stations. Together with those already added to other select Arlington and Alexandria stations last year, nearly every Metro stop in the Rosslyn-Ballston and Crystal City corridors has a nearby bikeshare key dispenser (East Falls Church and Virginia Square are the only exceptions). The proximity to Metro stations should emphasize the availability of connecting transportation options, especially for new visitors, and create a predictable place for people to pick up their keys.
While in the past members have had to wait for their keys to arrive by mail, key-dispensing kiosks mean that new members can skip the one-to-two week wait. Those signing up online can select “pick up at kiosk” and get their key on the same day. New registrants receive a code, and enter that at their key-dispensing station of choice to get their key.
The new kiosks also lower the barriers to those tempted to try the “daily key” membership option, which is geared towards infrequent riders or visitors. Under that plan, riders can register for a key, and only use it to activate a daily membership when they need it. While getting such a key might have required more planning ahead for a visitor in the past, the experience is now more streamlined.
“We’re glad to offer this quicker process for new members to get their keys,” said Henry Dunbar, Arlington’s director of active transportation. “Having the immediate ability to start using a service once you sign up is often key to establishing a regular use habit. Moving forward we hope to make this a standard feature in our new high-use stations.”
Key-dispensing kiosks can be identified on the Capital Bikeshare station map by the gray key icons. In addition to dispensing keys, the kiosks’ new screens provide a streamlined menu system, the ability to review one’s past rides, and other detailed options.
Photo, top: A newer kiosk in Rosslyn (photo by author).