Worldwide, bike share systems have given people an easy and convenient way to hop on a bike.
In growing cities like Seattle, this helps add transportation options for people to beat congestion in a space-efficient and carbon-free way. Also, it gives added motivation to get outside and exercise! Seattle was the first major city in North America to pilot a program that permits private, free-floating bike share to operate citywide.
The pilot began last summer and we are in the middle of writing our evaluation report, but we’ve got some great early stories we wanted to share! Read on for a sneak preview!
One thing we know for sure – Pacific Northwesterners do not like to bike in the rain. But even during the peak gloom, December, 60,000+ rides were recorded. Not too shabby, especially when compared to Portland, a city with a strong bike affinity and similar climate. Put ridership side by side with fleet data and it’s clear that they mirrored each other until the winter months.
Fleet Size | Month by Month
This tracks the number of active bikes towards the end of each month. We passed Pronto’s count of 500 bikes in the first few weeks, and Portland’s 1,000 bikes by the first week of August!
We are excited that the bike share pilot covered the entire city, including strong ridership in the Industrial District and the Rainier Valley. Contrast that with the limited coverage area of our dock-based system and some of the benefits of dockless are immediately apparent!
Trips Per Bike Per Day
We also wanted to know how often each bike was used. When fleets were smaller and the weather was warm, we were seeing well over 2 trips per bike per day. But as the fleets got bigger and the weather turned gloomy, that number shrank. Our average for the pilot period came to 0.84. This number is vitally important for city-funded programs but for the pilot, we’re more interested in the total number of rides.
Almost ¾ of the city likes bike share! Two surveys, one statistically significant and one online, showed an overwhelmingly positive response.
Parking & ADA Issues
We recognize that there have been some challenges with improperly parked bikes and pedestrian accessibility, particularly for people with mobility issues. We know we need to improve on how bikes are parked; too many bikes are left blocking sidewalks, curb ramps, and bus stops. While it’s unsightly and inconvenient to many of us, for those with vision and mobility challenges it’s a problem. We’re working hard to identify potential solutions and will be including recommendations in the full bike share pilot evaluation.
Stay tuned for more findings and recommendations for the permit program that we’ll be presenting to the City Council in June.
Got a question or want to inquire more about your free-floating bike share program? Contact us!