According to the New York Times, Washington DC will launch a public-private partnership initiative to provide 120 rental bikes at 10 locations across the city, available for a $40/yr membership.
Good idea, but you have to wonder about the numbers. I’m sure they’re “starting small to see how things go,” but the success of similar initiatives in Paris (which has over 400 employees running the program), Barcelona, etc. seems to be based on their sheer numbers: 10,000 bikes at 250 stations in Paris, for instance.
Hopefully DC’s experiment goes well and hopefully they scale up. And if it doesn’t go well, hopefully it won’t serve as a disincentive to other North American cities to attempt their own programs.