Here are some operating expense numbers for the Washington DC BikeShare:
Since its start in September 2010, Capital Bikeshare has taken in $2.47 million and spent $2.54 million on operating expenses. And that doesn’t even include the expensive things, like docking stations—which can cost well over $50,000 each—plus the bikes themselves. Those capital costs, at $7 million thus far, are covered by federal funds.
That is an astounding 97% “farebox” recovery. To put in perspective, the average rail system in the US is lucky to earn back more than 50%. The typical bus service gets back less than 20%.
And then there is the capital cost — a whopping $7 million. By comparison, a single 70-seat BART railcar will cost over $5 million.