Could Hubway be too popular?

Many of the Hubway stations throughout the city are empty during much of the day.

The city’s bicycle sharing program has taken off in its first few weeks and has exceeded some expectations.

However that popularity has left some users without a ride.

Metro observed three Hubway stations void of bicycles for hours during various days in the past week. From about 9 a.m. until about noon Wednesday, for example, the North Station, Faneuil Hall, Hanover Street and Staniford Street locations had a total of one bike between them.

When the program launched three weeks ago, city officials touted various systems that they said would ensure Hubway’s success. One of those systems was a team that redistributes the bikes to “balance” Hubway, or ensures that each station is not full or empty.

“In the first couple of months they’re still learning the patterns,” said Nicole Freedman, the director of the city’s Boston Bikes program.

She credited Mayor Thomas Menino’s initiatives to create bike lanes and provide other biking services with helping to launch Hubway’s popularity.

Freedman said the goal was to have 3,000 members signed up before the end of the first operational year. On Thursday, the city provided numbers that showed Hubway’s usage will likely exceed that expectation.

Ryan Bliss, a former Bostonian who now lives in Portland, Ore., was in the Hub for a convention and decided to take a bike from the Seaport to Faneuil Hall. When he headed inside for a snack and docked his bike, it was the only one in the station’s 19 spots.

“I hope it’s still here when I get back,” he said.

Fortunately for him, it was.


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