Following an underwhelming start, Bay Area Bike Share now sees an average of at least 2.5 trips per bike per day within San Francisco, according to the SFMTA. Since September 10, the average rate in SF has held mostly steady at about 2.7, and goes as high as 3.7.
For the entire five-city system, the average is about 1.9 trips per bike per day, up from the rate of 0.92 during the first 12 days after the August 29 launch. At two months in, Bay Area Bike Share’s usage exceeds that of DC’s Capital Bikeshare at the same point in time, according to SFMTA Bike-Share Program Manager Heath Maddox, who told supervisors Monday that the usage rate is “gratifying to see.”
Altogether, Bay Area Bike Share has about 2,000 members, and users have ridden 128,161 miles, or “almost five times around the Earth,” said Maddox. The 350 bikes within SF — half the system’s fleet — are used 900 to 1,000 times per day, he said.
The new numbers may not break any records, but Maddox said it’s “a healthy rate” and “a number we’re happy with.”
Maddox reported the new numbers Monday to a Board of Supervisors committee at a hearing called by Supervisor Scott Wiener to discuss the status of the system and how soon it can be expanded. As we reported last month, the SFMTA is looking to bring 15 new bike-share stations to the Mission, Castro, Hayes Valley, and Mission Bay neighborhoods early next year, rather than filling in the system’s existing footprint downtown as originally planned.
Bringing bike-share to new residential neighborhoods is expected to boost ridership. Although Maddox reportedly told the Bay Guardian Monday that the system may never “blanket” the Richmond and Sunset Districts, which hold little promise for high bike-share use, he did say at the hearing that the system could eventually be brought to popular biking destinations like Ocean Beach and the museums on the eastern side of Golden Gate Park.
An expansion of that scale isn’t expected for several years, however, since the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, which manages the regional bike-share network, has only taken initial steps to land a corporate sponsor to underwrite the growth and maintenance of the system.
Citing a new poll showing that most San Franciscans favor the expansion of bike-share and protected bike lanes, Wiener said in a statement, “Our city needs and wants more access to safe and accessible bicycling opportunities. An essential part of being a transit-first city is to give people a variety of options for getting around town, like expanding bike share city-wide.”