Hubway for the middle class

Boston’s vaunted new bike-sharing program, Hubway, is hardly the city-wide biking solution it’s cracked up to be. There are no kiosks south of Dudley Square. (Thanks to S.; white privilege would probably have kept me from ever noticing on my own.)

According to the Phoenix, “Talks are ongoing to implement it in Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline as well. . . . ‘It truly has to be a regional system. If you can’t take a Hubway from downtown Boston to Harvard Square, that’s a problem.'” But if you can’t take it from Dudley to downtown, that’s your problem.

An additional teeth-grinder for me, as someone who toyed with taking a Hubway out today, is the hidden cost: when you rent a bike for a day, a security deposit is placed on your bank account. This isn’t on the Hubway pricing page—you have to go to the FAQ to find it out.

When you join New Balance Hubway with a Casual Membership, a pre-authorization hold of $101 per bike is placed on your card account. This is not a charge against your account. It serves as a security deposit and will be returned to you when the hold expires. Holds may last up to 10 days, depending on the credit card company. We recommend using a credit card and not a debit or check card when becoming a Casual Member. Using a debit card may result in overdrafts if you don’t have sufficient funds in your account to cover the hold. [Their emphasis]

So renting a bike for a day doesn’t cost five dollars (plus hourly pricing), it essentially costs you $105 in the short term, and you need a credit card. Oh, for the lost days of the yellow bike.