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Capital Bikeshare to provide 500 electric bikes across the D.C. area

Curbed logo Curbed 3/15/2019 Andrew Giambrone
a close up of a bicycle: Capital Bikeshare bikes© Orhan Cam/Shutterstock Capital Bikeshare bikes

The rollout begins on March 18 and comes after a pilot program for the motorized bikes launched last year

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Looks like the cherry blossom-themed electric bike currently hopping around D.C. won’t be the only electric bike provided by Capital Bikeshare this year. On Friday, the local bikeshare service announced that it will roll out 500 electric pedal-assist bikes over the coming weeks.

The expansion, beginning on March 18, is part of an electric bike pilot program that Capital Bikeshare kicked off last year. Unlike the service’s traditional red bikes, the motorized bikes are black and can boost up to 18 mph, a capability that helps riders traveling far distances or up hills. A $1 surcharge for taking the electric bikes will be waived until April 15 for all riders as well as indefinitely for riders eligible for Capital Bikeshare’s financial assistance programs.

“With the many hills in the District, the increased number of ebikes in the fleet will make some neighborhoods easier to bike to, particularly in Wards 7 and 8 and we are proud to support this growth of the system,” said Jeff Marootian, the head of the District Department of Transportation, in a statement. Capital Bikeshare notes that the $1 surcharge stems from the fact that electric bikes are more expensive to service than its traditional bikeshare bikes.

Riders have taken more than 50,000 trips on the motorized bikes since they launched last September, according to the bikeshare service, and “rider satisfaction reports were high.” Capital Bikeshare first hinted at the addition of electric bikes to its fleet early that month.

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