With gas at nearly $4.00 a gallon, outrageous parking fees, “Resident Parking Only” signs covering the entire metro area, and a dangerous lack of transportation options for our generation after 1 a.m., Hubway may be exactly what Boston has been missing all these years.
Recently launched, with 61 stations covering metro Boston, Hubway is being considered a cutting-edge innovation, and one of the first of its kind on the East Coast. In a place like Boston, where the T’s only reach so far, these bikes can be used as the in-between commute for citizens and visitors alike.
After a year and a half delay due to a funding shortage, Boston finally received a $3 million grant last summer, and the plan was put into action for the recent launch. Currently, the Hubway system has stations in Boston’s West End, Mission Hill, Roxbury Crossing, Tremont Street, the Prudential Center, Northeastern University, Back Bay, Union Square, Harvard University, Storrow Drive, Beacon Hill and Kenmore Square, to name a few. However, this is just the beginning: Hubway plans to add stations in Cambridge, Somerville and Brookline in the near future.
So how exactly does this bike-sharing system work? Well, one must first decide if they want to become a member or casual user. By becoming a member, you will receive your own Hubway Key to use anytime, anywhere. For the more casual users, you can visit any station by using a credit card and join for 24 hours or up to three days. Any ride under thirty minutes is free, and that’s not even the best part. You can use the bikes seven days a week, 24 hours a day, which means no more getting stuck on someone’s grimy couch at 1 a.m. after you’ve missed the T.
Available during three out of four seasons (the exception is winter), the Hubway system is currently the only accessible, environmentally-friendly transport option available at any time during the day.
So is this affordable for people our age on a budget? Actually–yes. Particularly for the speedier of bikers. By becoming an annual member ($60 fee) one can rent a bike hourly starting at $1.50 for an hour, $12.50 for two hours, and $24.50 for three hours. As a casual user, your best bet would be purchasing a 24 hour pass for $5 or a 3-day pass for $12. Hourly rates for a casual member can range from $2.00 for an hour to $30.00 for three hours.
The Hubway system is just the beginning for Mayor Menino’s Bike Plan, which was launched in 2007. Bike lanes will no longer be exclusive to Cambridge, as the design for bikeways and multi-use paths are set to be implemented later this year. Bike ridership in Boston increased 122% from 2007-2009, and was ranked 20th out of 244 bike-friendly communities around the U.S.
What do you think of the new bike-sharing program? Will you try it out?