Yesterday was Hubway’s three-month anniversary of being on MIT’s campus since the two stations in front of Building W11 and the Stata Center opened.
Hubway is a bike-sharing system that has stations throughout the Boston and Cambridge area. Users can purchase 1-day, 3-day, and annual memberships, during which time they can rent bikes for free 30-minute rides, with fees for longer rides.
Since the MIT stations opened, the Institute has sold over 628 annual memberships to members of the MIT community. “We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback,” said Campus Planner Adam Serafin, “I know a number of people that have incorporated it into their commute.”
A regular annual membership is $85. However, since MIT is a corporate member of Hubway, students and other members of the MIT community pay only $25. Each membership costs $50, but MIT covers half.
Since Hubway has only one station near the MIT dormitories (between Maseeh and Bexley), but dozens of stations in Boston, Hubway tends to be more popular with students who live across the river. One student, Evan Moore ’14, uses Hubway as an “in case of emergency” system. “I don’t like to bike in general,” said Moore, who lives in Phi Delta Theta on Bay State road, “but in those cases where I’ve needed to get to campus quickly it’s been a lifesaver. It cuts my commute in half.”
Problems do arise, though, when stations fill up. “I’ve had a couple of issues where stations are full, though that’s only happened maybe once or twice,” Moore said. The frequency of incoming bikes at the MIT stations tend to spike around 8 a.m., according to Hubway data, and stations can often be full during those morning hours. To try to keep this from happening, Hubway has a “street team” that clears bikes from full stations and delivers bikes to empty stations. In addition, there is a smartphone app, Spotcycle, that visualizes the current load at each station. If a rider comes across a full station, he or she can get 15 extra minutes to bike to the next closest station.
According to data provided by Hubway through its “data visualization challenge,” the W11 station averages about 100 trips per day, and in September had around 1,985 trips. This is “the most of any station in Cambridge,” according to Serafin. The plurality of users of this station, 15 percent, use this station to cross the Harvard Bridge, while 21 percent of this station’s users tended to go to or come from Harvard Square, Kenmore Square, and Stata. The Stata Center station averages around 77 trips per day, and 10 percent of trips are to or from the Mass. Ave. station.
Hubway also operates two stations close to campus in Kendall Square: one at One Broadway, and another newer station by the Kendall T-stop.
The MIT stations are part of Hubway’s network of over 100 regional stations, which include 24 stations in Cambridge, 72 in the Boston area, and 12 in Somerville. MIT has no current plans to bring more stations to campus, according to Serafin, but they will evaluate feedback from the community and explore expansion as demand increases.