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Electric Capital Bikeshare bikes will now cost more than traditional ones

Pictured here are Capital Bikeshare's electric-assist bikes. (WTOP/Max Smith)

Capital Bikeshare’s popular electric pedal-assist bikes will cost more to use starting next month.

The $1 additional fee per ride, starting April 15, comes as Capital Bikeshare significantly increases the number of electric bikes in its fleet over the next few weeks.

After starting with 80 last fall as part of a pilot program, the system now plans to have 500 of the pedal-assist bikes on the road this spring.

Capital Bikeshare plans to permanently waive the $1 fee for people who have discounted memberships through financial assistance programs.

The regular red bikes will continue to have no additional charges for trips up to 30 minutes.

The higher-tech nature of the bikes themselves — maintenance costs and the need for workers to go around replacing used batteries with fully charged ones — adds to the costs of the electric bikes’ operations.

Pedal-assist bikes make trips much easier and quicker for users, and they have been consistently more popular where they have been available next to regular bikes over the period where the two options have cost users the same amount.

The new $1 fee is less than the $2 charged by JUMP bikes, which are more fully electric, and less than a $2 Metrobus fare, but the fee could make some users think harder about whether to use an electric bikeshare bike, a regular one or another mode of transportation.

The pricing changes are reflected in updates to user agreements effective next week. Those updates also add the City of Falls Church to the member jurisdictions supporting Capital Bikeshare as the city prepares to add its own bikes and docks.

Though Capital Bikeshare is owned by local governments, it is operated by a private subsidiary of Lyft.

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