For Skrzypek, the Berklee College of Music student, Hubway is faster and more affordable than the MBTA. Annual membership costs $85 — compared with $70 a month for a T bus/subway pass — and he earned a second year free by tallying the third-most rides in 2011, before pedaling past the pack this year.
“It’s nice not being stuck in a train to get somewhere, actually being able to see everything and feel the outside,” said Skrzypek, after a trip from Back Bay to Brighton on Monday that pushed his total number of rides to 1,015.
For private banker Tom Loucas, Hubway has replaced as much as $200 in weekly taxi rides and helped him shed 50 pounds, down from 315. He started with a neighborhood spin in summer 2011, after discovering his wife’s unused membership key soon after the system opened.
“That was to put my pinkie toe in,” Loucas said. A test commute on a casual Friday gave way to the daily sight of the 50-year-old banker in suit, dress shoes — and, in the rain, knee-length Brooks Brothers overcoat — pedaling the mile and a half between his South End home and Financial District office. Now, he rides to client meetings as well.
“I have none of the stress sitting in a cab watching the meter spin, sitting in traffic. I’m not on my cellphone, yelling at someone about a business deal,” he said. “I arrive at a meeting clear-headed and refreshed.”
Loucas is not shy about telling Hubway it should lower prices — the original membership was $65 — to attract more riders, and the real-time app showing station location and capacity does not work for his BlackBerry. But those are minor complaints from a man whose enthusiasm has convinced several colleagues to sign up.
“Hubway RULES!” Loucas wrote in an e-mail, leaving no doubt about his feelings. “Though I HATE the fact that they are closing.”
At this time next year, he may get to keep riding.
Eric Moskowitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.