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Hubway bike rentals to run through the winter in Cambridge

Hubway announced today its bicycle-rental stations will again remain open this winter in Cambridge - except for the stations at Lafayette Square/Main Street and Dana Park, which will be taken out to let snow plows plow snow.

Closures of other stations will begin in mid-November, with Brookline and Somerville concluding operations on Wednesday, November 26th. For the first time, a reduced number of stations in Boston will remain open through December. The entire system is expected to re-open in March or early April, depending on weather conditions.

Hubway adds that don't go crazy and expect to do some extreme snow biking - they will shut operations down during "extreme inclement weather conditions."

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Better foward this to bikesnobnyc's blog. I know their recently deployed rideshare CitiBike (same bikes as Hubway) has been met with considerable complaint and opposition. Proud to see we have an advantage over NYC.

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Uh, what? Citibike runs all year. And its been around for well over a year. And the complaints are based off the fact that the maintenance has been garbage, so when the app tells you there are 5 open docks it's because none of them work.

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I know their recently deployed rideshare CitiBike (same bikes as Hubway) has been met with considerable complaint and opposition.

Yeah, the complaint is that it is so popular with residents that there aren't enough bikes. The biggest complaint is that the system is too small which is why they are doubling it in size next year. They initially thought that tourist money would fund most of the system but it turns out residents and not tourists are it's biggest users.

Early on there was stupid complaints about placement of the stations but that's mostly died down and the software problems have been fixed.

Hubway is great but there are too few stations. I hope Walsh keeps expanding.

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Maybe the opposition has died down, BikeSnobNYC is a large advocate of it but tends to repost fringe complaints regarding Citibike. Good that it is working out slowly but surely.

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Dorothy Rabinowitz from the WSJ who got a lot of coverage talking about the "totalitarian" Citibikes. It's pretty hilarious, esp in retrospect. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=khYtTOQCypg

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There were others too, she was just the craziest. Lots of otherwise-rational people were warning that citibkes would be a bloodbath: helmetless tourists who had never seen a bike before would wobble into traffic and die! Never mind that the exact same bikeshare was already successful in Boston, DC, and London - the mean streets of NYC would eat them alive! Each city

8 million rides later, with zero deaths and few injuries, they're all looking pretty silly.

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Be it known that this scary bike share is set up in yet another city where it's okay to murder cyclists, peds walk in the bike lanes and police ticket cyclists for "speeding" (the speed limit in NYC is 25mph).

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The NYC speed limit is not 25 mph until tomorrow. There's a whole 6 hours to enjoy 30 while it lasts.

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Complaints about the placement of stations have gone away. Like others said, the only complaints are a shortage of available bikes (apparently many bikes were destroyed during Hurricane Sandy when a storage warehouse was flooded,) and problems with the docking equipment.

I recently read that the Citibike program will be expanding next year under a new management company. That's great news.

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IIRC, the company that operates Citibike, as well as Hubway and bikeshare programs in several other cities (i think it's called Alta? or something like that) was recently bought by Related, the real estate developer from New York that also owns Equinox gym.

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Alta, or something like that, seems to be the name I remember, too.

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Related has been given sweetheart property deals by Mayor Bloomburg. Bailing out the money losing CitiBike system is payback to NYC for mere pocket change (to them). BTW, the maker of the bikes, Bixi, went through bankruptcy too.

The thought that tourists would rent bikes as in other cities (like Boston) was a major fail in NYC despite the number of tourists there. They must value their safety. Renewal rates for annual memberships were poor, so there will be a price hike.

Lots of articles to Google.

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Why no Somerville, Hubway? It would be nice in the less T accessible areas!

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The better way to ask that question would be "Why no Hubway, Somerville?" The host communities decide whether or not to extend through the winter, along with making other decisions about the service in their jurisdictions.

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Okay, then: "Screw you, Somerville!"

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Swirls , why no Somerville ? Maybe a franchising opportunity out there on the horizon.

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That's what I have been told. The residual Cambridge locations are ones that are located outside of plowing zones.

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Speaking of winter, it would be nice if they finally filled in the big gap through Winter Hill/East Somerville/Sullivan Square. Sullivan square is actually somewhat bikeable now with the new bike lanes, and Lower Broadway construction is almost finished with chalk lines all laid out for the new bike lane striping. Anybody know if they have new stations planned for the spring in this area?

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As joneshill noted, each city has its own contract with Hubway. Cambridge determined that keeping Hubway open in the winter was feasible because:

  • Almost all their stations are on plazas rather than in the street, which apparently makes snow plowing much simpler
  • Cambridge has the money for it. Many of their hubway stations were paid for by Harvard, MIT, or various Kendall Sq tech companies (click around on https://www.thehubway.com/stations and see how many Cambrige stations are sponsored). Poor little Somerville doesn't have any sponsored stations (step up your game, Tufts!) and relies on cobbling together grants and its own money.

Somerville absolutely wants year-round Hubway, but they can't afford it yet.

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In Chicago, the Divvy bikes were dancing in a recent storm.

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Thats crazy considering how heavy they are

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There are a few stations, including one in Davis and one at Washington and Beacon, that are juuuuuust over the city line but technically in Somerville. I wonder if Hubway can send a truck out to move them twenty feet south into Cambridge?

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I believe the bikes and racks are owned by the towns and the management is contracted out. So if the company were to move them across town lines it would be stealing. (AKA a contract violation)

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I think it could work in Cambridge, but not Boston since the pace is much slower in Cambridge. People seem to have more patience on that side of the river as well. I wouldn't be surprised if hubway will be rolling out bike rentals in the suburbs soon. It's great for people who don't drive and don't like taking public transportation.

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...really?

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Yes, really. People walk at a more casual pace and there is a more relaxed vibe in general. There's a definite hustle and bustle to Boston that you don't get in Cambridge. I don't view that as a good or bad thing, merely an observation that many people I know who live in Boston or Cambridge share.

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Last year they shut down for the first snowstorm. Then we had a surprise 8" of snow (traffic much?) and they didn't shut down. I got on a bike in Kendall and tried to bike in that and the back wheel spun round and round and round and I made it about 50 feet before I ran the bike back to the rack and took the Red Line. Those tires are not meant for several inches of snowpack. That's what the old steel MTB is for.

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Actually thinner tyres cut through snow better, I'd also think that the 45lbs of heavy slow steel of Hubway bikes would be beneficial

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Sand, gravel, slush, and ice can be a pain in the arse, too.

Some people like the skinny tires in snow, but I've found that they don't do so well with hidden obstacles or finding a bit of traction on ice.

The best kind I've ever had for all winter nonsense conditions: flat in the middle, knarly on the edges. Like this:
IMAGE(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41skRWwuAkL._SY450_.jpg)
I found that they did an excellent job of low rolling resistance and cut-in, while hurling slop (sand, slush, etc.) off to the side like a champ!

My husband ran studded tires the last couple of years - I made him save them for my new commuter that I'm building over the winter (they won't fit on a Pinarello)

The main trick: take it slow, no sudden moves. Just like with a car, take it out into a parking lot and see where and how it goes.

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