Citi Bike certainly has taken off in New York City. The bikesharing system is enjoyed by adventurous tourists, recreational residents, and daily commuters alike. However, new statistics are emerging that show commuters are actually representing an impressive percentage of Citi Bike riders. This supports the wheels turning in federal legislation to make “bikeshare” an official form of public transportation.
“More than 10 million rides were taken on a Citi Bike in New York City in 2015, and public data released by Citi Bike suggests that many of those trips were commutes to or from work,” according to an article by Kelsey E. Thomas.
Todd Schneider, a software writer for Genius, analyzed Citi Bike data from 2013–2015, which he says show that the bikes were used primarily for utilitarian purposes. Data began when Citi Bike began releasing data publicly, July 2013, and ended November of 2015. Based on routes taken and time used, the ride data show commuting trends.
Schneider only considered rides when bikes were returned to a different location from where they were initially picked up. He also assumed riders followed the Google Maps recommended route between the two stations. This obviously does not include riders who, so to speak, took the scenic route.
Commuting trends? This means that most rides take place on weekdays between 8 & 9 am and 5 & 7 pm. Most of the routes follow similar paths as commuter cars while peaking in the morning when it comes to travel from the boroughs to Manhattan and vice versa. Most of the riders preferred the avenues with exclusive bike lanes.
With a 24% increase in bikesharing rides in 2015 when compared to 2014, access to Citi Bike continues to grow. 2,400 new bikes and 138 new docking stations have been added to New York City in that last year. This is just the tip of the iceberg, as Citi Bike plans on implementing over 700 docking stations and 7,500 bikes by the end of 2017. Ambitious indeed.
Regarding legislation, the data lend precedent to a bill recently introduced by US Representatives earlier this year. The bill would classify bikesharing as an official mode of public transport, qualifying the business for many federal benefits.
Bikesharing is on the rise, so buy a helmet and, thankfully, you never forget how to ride one.