Housing Complex

Bikeshare Ridership Inflects

Must what goes up come down? (DDOT)

Running one of the United States' first big bike sharing systems was always going to be a roller coaster ride in the first year, with no way to forecast how many people might want to hop aboard in any given month. But with the help of the Capital Bikeshare dashboard, we can at least tell how many people rode in the previous months, and look for patterns.

Since the winter, ridership has been on a steep trajectory upwards, reaching 134,000 trips in May. In June, that growth started to level off, and I'd be willing to bet that it plateaus in July, given the fact that it's been less than joyful pedaling lately. But if it stays at that baseline and just continues to increase again come crisp fall days (and continued system expansion) we could get a sense of the shape of things to come.

  • Adam L

    Perhaps the plateau isn't just the result of the weather? I think capital bikeshare has simply reached its current capacity. The system has gotten so popular that bikes are increasingly in short supply and I'm unable to use it.

  • Jacques

    That seems pretty spot-on to me. For the stations that empty or fill quickly, there's not enough capacity to further increase ridership. And for stations that are not near-capacity in terms of use, most don't have enough convenient destinations (particularly, most stations in Wards 3, 7, and 8) to increase ridership under current conditions.

    Accounting for the difference in days (31 in May, 30 in June) this still indicates a 10% increase, so it's possible there's a bit more room to grow under current conditions.

    I do think that an increase of 25 stations in DC in the fall will likely lead to another large increase in monthly ridership (though not on the scale we saw). and that the expansion along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor will do the same for Orange line residents, workers, and nightlife.

    More importantly, an increase in stations/bikes should lead to increased revenue for Alta, and an increase in redistribution vehicles, which would expand capacity a good deal on it's own. (Realizing there's a limit to how much redistribution can be done in a 2-hour rush hour period).

  • http://panglott.blogspot.com/ Panglott

    That doesn't look like growth is plateauing; it looks like it is returning to trend growth. It looks like a seasonal fall in November, followed by very strong growth in March and April. Winter is hard, and spring is the prime cycling season.

    But what's amazing is that growth has been so large in months that are, seasonally speaking, relatively tough for cycling: Bike sharing grew in January and February! If if can grow in ~those~ months, I don't see why it wouldn't grow in July as well.

  • http://alexblock.net Alex B.

    Eh, I think it's far too early to draw any conclusions from the month to month data. The system has only been running for 9 months - if you're going to extrapolate seasonal trends, I think you'd at least have to see data from all four seasons.

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