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Rolling With the Homies: Seattle Bike Share Pilot a Rolling Success

Seattle has had free-floating bike share (FFBS) in the city for about two months and in this relatively short time, the stats show it’s a pretty big success. But don’t take our word for it. The numbers speak for themselves.

What do these numbers mean? Keep reading!

For you non-numbers types, this means that more people are riding Free-Floating Bike Share bikes, for longer trips, more often. In two months, free-floating bike share use has soared in comparison to Pronto bikes on that system’s best day in two YEARS (yes, we brought up Pronto because we know you were thinking it!). These numbers mean:

  • People are riding FFBS bikes for DOUBLE the time than they rode Pronto bikes
  • They are riding for half a mile longer
  • The number of trips per bike per day (this is the biggie) more than tripled, making Seattle’s bike share system second in the nation only to New York

One caveat: these stats are from two summer months and we know that when it starts raining, that increased use may not keep going up. However, even taking that into account, we are seeing higher usage than in six other cities in the country that have bike share. Not bad for a 2-month-old.

Why It Matters

What we’ve learned by comparing FFBS to its older, not-as-cool stepbrother Pronto, is that bike share bike use goes up as the number of bikes available goes up. Pronto had 500 bikes in its dock system. So far, FFBS has 6,000 bikes in the city. Availability matters.

Also, when there is an event in Seattle that causes congestion, like Bumbershoot, for example, FFBS use spikes as people use bike share bikes to get around instead of driving.


Basically, the first free-floating bike share system in Seattle – and in the U.S. – is rolling way ahead of where we were before. And that’s why dozens of cities around the country and North America, including Washington, D.C. and Victoria, B.C., having been picking our bike share brain to see how we’re doing it.