Hubway Could Become a Year-Round Operation

Good news!

Though the Hubway bike-sharing system in Boston has spent the past few weeks packing up bikes and shutting down for the winter, the Globe brings welcome news that the system may soon become a year-round operation:

[A] winterized Hubway could happen by December 2013. Current contracts and permits call for a nearly four-month closure, but the two-thirds of Hubway stations located on plazas and sidewalks could remain in place without posing an obstacle for street plowing.

Winter biking in Boston obviously has its special obstacles, but this is a happy bit of news, especially if the city wants its bikesharing system to compete in convenience with those of other cities. The Globe notes that Toronto, which charges a $95 annual membership fee (compared to Boston’s $85) has kept their system open year-round. That’s four more months of potential biking in Toronto for just ten extra dollars. Washington D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare program charges just $75, and remains open year-round as well. Weather considerations obviously aren’t as concerning there, but that’s a lot more biking for your buck.

We imagine the system here will only stay open if administrators can find ways to keep stations from impeding snow removal crews and if safety concerns aren’t overwhelming. The news seems especially sensible as it coincidentally arrives alongside several days of 50 degree weather here in town. Looking out the window of a packed, sweaty MBTA bus at the empty Hubway stations on a day like this must seem especially galling to Hubway riders with annual memberships.