Civic Data

Data-oriented thinking about where and how people live.

Daily rides per bike for major U.S. bike share programs

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I used 1.35 as the projected rides/bike/day figure in my Cruzer Bikes proposal, a figure which I grabbed, more-or-less, from Capital Bikeshare’s original projections. It would have been useful to have a list of rides/bike/day for various Bike Share systems across the U.S.

I’ve put together a quick compendium of ridership figures from major bike share programs across the U.S. I’ve included only those for which I could find ridership estimates, and indicated my sources. I couldn’t find 2012 ridership estimates for several, or any ridership estimates at all for several other large-ish systems (Kansas City, Nashville, Chattanooga, Charlotte, and Long Beach, NY… mostly southern cities… hmm. I suspect the figures would be pretty poor if they were available.)

The numbers for bikes and stations are approximations, in that the numbers typically increase over the course of the year. I tried to take some reasonable averages — e.g., if there were 90 bikes for most of the year and 130 in the final couple of months, that’d go down as 100 in the table. I rounded some numbers off. And I tried to figure how many days the system was in service over the given time period, which also required some estimates.

Sorry for the horrendously ugly table. The free version of WordPress doesn’t play nice with tables.

where launch date year of stats nth year stations bikes days rides rides/bike/day source
Miami Beach, FL Mar-11 2012 2nd 115 1000 365 1,291,000 3.54 source
Washington, DC Sep-10 jan-june 2012 2nd 187 1500 182 935,000 3.42 source
Boston, MA Jul-11 2012 2nd 95 1000 239 534,000 2.23 source
Denver, CO Apr-10 2011 2nd 50 510 217 203,000 1.83 source (pdf)
Minneapolis, MN Jun-10 2012 3rd 65 700 216 274,000 1.81 source
Madison, WI May-11 2012 2nd 30 290 258 63,300 0.85 source (pdf)
Boulder, CO May-11 2011 1st 13 100 220 18,500 0.84 source (pdf)
San Antonio, TX Mar-11 2011 1st 14 140 275 22,700 0.59 source
Broward County, FL Dec-11 2012 1st 20 250 180 15,200 0.34 source (pdf)
Chattanooga, TN Jul-12 jul-dec 2012 1st 30 300 180 12,600 0.23 source

Some notes:

  1. Smaller systems don’t do as well (in daily rides per bike). This is pretty understandable — a small system has less network value. If the system doesn’t go where you need to, you can’t use bike share. This will be especially true if you’re trying to compete with the automobile in a relatively spread-out city (e.g., San Antonio and Broward/Ft. Lauderdale).
  2. Younger systems don’t do as well. Several of the low-performing systems were in the pilot phase. There is a clear trend of increasing ridership over time within systems, as well. (This is not shown in the chart above, of course.) Bike share systems take some time to be mature and “normal.”

What does this mean for Cruzer Bikes? I suspect that it means 1.35 daily rides per bike is pretty optimistic for the first year, though pretty plausible for the 2nd or 3rd year — though this is likely only true if the system has decent coverage. And I still think 4 (or above) is a reasonable long-term target, keeping in mind that Capital Bikeshare is still growing quickly by this metric.

02/12/13 EDIT: data for the Chattanooga system added to the table. I may try to keep this up-to-date for a little while.

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One thought on “Daily rides per bike for major U.S. bike share programs

  1. Pingback: Cruzer Bikes: Santa Cruz Bike Share « Civic Data

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