Logo   Boston Hubway Bicycle Rental
Like velib' in Paris, Boston's Hubway is a short-trip bike rental system to get you around the city and even to Cambridge.




It started in Paris with the velib' free short-trip bicycle sharing system: you registered for the system, guaranteed your membership with a credit card, then you borrowed any velib' bicycle from any velib' bike station in the city, took a hsort trip (less than 30 minutes) to another part of the city, and returned the bike to another bike station.

This is not a normal bicycle-rental deal. Normally, you'd rent a bike from a bike shop by the hour, the day or the week. The longer you rented the bike, the happier the shop owner would be.

Hubway bikes, however, are to be used only for short trips (less than 30 minutes) around the city instead of driving, taking a taxi, or using fossil-fueled public transport. If you keep a bike for more than 30 minutes, you pay an overage fee.

Hubway's goal is to offer you public transport that you power and that releases no greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Going by bike is faster than walking, faster and cheaper than mass transit for short trips, and in some ways as convenient as a taxi or car.

It even helps to keep Bostonians healthy and trim obesity!

There is a downside, of course. You must learn the system, bring your own bike helmet, endure the risks of riding a bicycle in a big city, perhaps get wet if it rains.

But you can balance this with the exercise you'll get from your ride, and the fun of seeing the city by bike.

Hubway is not free, but it is quite reasonably priced for those who find that it fits their needs. A 24-hour pass costs $5. For that price you can take as many trips of up to 30 minutes as you like in one 24-hour period. (Note! It is NOT rental of a bike for 24 hours!) A 3-day pass costs $12; and for $85 you get an entire year's worth of short trips, 30 minutes or less.

For example, you may be staying at the Revere Hotel Boston Common in the Theater District and decide you want to ride a bike to the Prudential Center to board your Duck Tour. You'd go to the Hubway bike station at the corner of Stuart and Charles streets, take a bike, ride the 1.2 miles (2 km) in about 10 minutes, and turn in your bike at the Prudential Green Line subway station Hubway station.

On foot, the same trip would take you twice as long. It would also be longer by public transit. The drive in a car would be shorter...but not when you include the time needed to park the car (at great expense). The ride by taxi would cost more (though not, perhaps, for three passengers sharing a taxi.)

Complete instructions for using the Hubway system are displayed at each Hubway bike station. In short, you swipe your credit card to pay the 1-day, 3-day or 1-year membership fee, receive an unlocking code, input the code on a bike stand, take your bike, and you're on your way.

(Note that a security-deposit charge of $101 will be made on your credit card. This charge will be refunded when your pass expires and all bikes have been returned to Hubway bike stands properly.)

You can also register for membership online, and also see bike station location maps:

—by Tom Brosnahan

Biking in Boston


City Bus


Commuter Rail

Boston Transportation

Finding Your Way in Boston

Boston Hotels

What to See & Do in Boston

About Boston


Paris Girls Secret Society, the new novel by Tom Brosnahan


Hubway Bike Rental System, Boston MA

Hubwy bikes waiting for riders....



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