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D.C. Capital Bikeshare dealing with membership surge, key shortage

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(WJLA) - With bikes now available throughout Washington D.C. and in parts of Northern Virginia and Montgomery County, D.C. Bikeshare officials say they would like to keep growing without hitting any bumps in the road.

But as issues go, officials say that one problem is due to a good thing: a recent surge in membership, which has left D.C. Bikeshare short on keys for bikes to issue to new members.

“We have over 25,000 members right now...Last month, we had 310,000 trips on our bikes -- and that's on 3,000 bikes -- so record-breaking ridership, record-breaking membership," says manager Kim Lucas.

Kim Lucas oversees Bikeshare, and explains that good spring weather, tourist season, and a successful promotion campaign during the Cherry Blossom Festival all contributed to the unexpectedly large growth spurt. But this factor combined with recent problems in the supply chain means they won’t have more keys for new members until the first week in July.

Bikeshare wants the public to know they can still use the bikes without a key if you use your credit card for a one to three day membership. If you are already a member and your key is broken, just call customer service and they will issue a temporary membership.

That’s how Stan Caldwell got his bike this week while visiting from Pittsburgh:

“I'm using Bikeshare to try and support alternate modes of transportation, and it's also just a much more pleasant way to experience Washington, D.C."

One big problem? The sole supplier for the bikes, stations, and keys recently declared bankruptcy. But new owners are ramping production back up again, and D.C., with what is now the second largest bike sharing program in the nation, is now testing new suppliers as well.

"We are in a good place. It's better than having the opposite situation where we just have tons of bikes not getting used, tons of memberships not getting purchased," says an optimistic Lucas.

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