Bike sharing: It’s cheap, but is it fast?

Riding a Hubway bike was the fastest but not the cheapest way from City Hall Plaza to Kenmore Square when put up against taking a taxi or using the green line. Brogan Graham rides the Hubway bike to the finish.

With 600 bicycles set to hit city streets tomorrow for the launch of the city’s Hubway bicycle-sharing program, Metro wanted to test if the bikes could get users to their destination faster and cheaper. 

Metro conducted an informal experiment to answer those questions yesterday afternoon by racing a Hubway bicycle between bike-share stations at Government Center and Kenmore Square against a cab and a Green Line ride.

Brogan Graham, marketing manager for Hubway’s parent company, Alta Bicycle Share, peddled the bike from Tremont Street to Park Street and down Beacon Street. As the Metro reporter in the taxi was stopped at a red light coming off of Storrow Drive, he watched Graham pass by the intersection.
The bike won, beating the taxi by only a minute.

“We would do the ride from Mission Hill to Northeastern, and [we] would beat the Green Line all the time,” Graham said.

The cab ride didn’t work up a sweat, but it did cost more.

Although the T was the slowest, it was the cheapest. The bike-share was a close second, with a 24-hour rental costing $5. However, for users who pay the annual membership fee between $60 and $85, rides under 30 minutes will be free.


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