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Capital Bikeshare runs out of keys as new membership soars

Capital Bikeshare has more demand than supply. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)

WASHINGTON — Capital Bikeshare has hit a bump in the road as summer begins: It’s out of the keys that allow members access bikes.

The bike sharing system, which has become ubiquitous in the D.C. area, blames the shortage on supplier issues and heavier-than-anticipated registrations.

To wit: Bikeshare users set an all-time record in May for trips taken in one month: 310,344.

New keys will not be available until the week of July 7, according to the announcement on its web site.

D.C. council member Mary Cheh, Ward 3, sent a tweet to the District Department of Transportation, asking it to “please get on top of this.”

The timing is particularly awkward in Montgomery County.

This week, Montgomery County Commuter Services is hosting community events daily to promote the bikeshare system to residents, businesses and employees.

The service is still relatively new around Silver Spring, and MCCS is promoting the benefits of membership and handing out some free rides.

“It is disappointing that our contractor — their supplier — went bankrupt, and this key problem is one of the impacts of that,” says Anne Root, the program’s manager for Montgomery County.

Still, she says the shortage reflects a surge in demand, which is a positive sign.

Those interested in becoming members during this week’s promotional events won’t really notice they key shortage anyway, she says, because the lag time is generally seven to 10 days between registering and receiving the key.

DDOT reports annual membership to Capital Bikeshare has surged to more than 31,000, about 7,000 more than the previous year.

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