See our Seattle Bike Share Guide for an updated list of bike share companies in Seattle, links to download their apps and a quick rundown on how it all works.
Heatmap of week one bike pickups, from Spin.
People took 5,008 rides on Spin in the company’s first week operating in Seattle, 60 percent higher than Pronto’s opening week in October 2014 and 300 more rides than Pronto’s busiest week in its two-and-a-half year life (mid-July 2015).
And this is just a taste of Spin’s vision for serving Seattle. The city’s pilot permit limits the company to 500 bikes in the first month, 1,000 in month two, 2,000 in month three and then more after that if all goes well. Spin said in a press release when they launched that they hope to get to 10,000 bikes.
But this week was a great chance to learn about the power of the stationless bike share model. It’s the closest thing to a bike share Pepsi Challenge we may ever get. Both Pronto and Spin had 500 bikes operating essentially exclusively in Seattle, and Spin got more rides. A week isn’t an overwhelming amount of data, of course, and there are still unanswered questions about how the company is going to keep up with maintenance. But at first blush, wow. This stationless bike share thing seems to be off to a promising start. From Spin:
In week one, we’re excited to share that we’ve hit 5,008 rides. Our average ride lasts 16.71 minutes, our top user has logged 20 rides, and an average rider has taken 2.7 trips.
The company focused most of its initial bike drops and redistribution on downtown and nearby areas, since 500 bikes is not enough to cover a wider area very well. But users can ride the bikes anywhere they want. So just about any bike outside the city center got there because someone biked it there from downtown. And people biked Spin bikes to just about every corner of the city.
Outside downtown, the Burke-Gilman Trail corridor and nearby areas obviously did very well. This is an area Pronto never served outside a small section in the U District. Pronto was supposed to expand to Fremont and lower Wallingford shortly after launching, but this never happened. So all you Pronto members who were pulling your hair out waiting for the system to serve Fremont, the Spin heatmap above vindicates you.
The heatmap also shows strong use along Alki, far away from the central neighborhoods where the bikes were initially dropped. I worry a bit about the existing beach cruiser rental businesses on Alki who have been serving the beachside trail for many years.
There are also hubs of rental activity around every Rainier Valley light rail station, especially in the area between Othello Station and Graham Street. Previous bike share efforts were very bearish on the business potential for bike share in Rainier Valley, and we have consistently pushed back against that. Spin is showing that there is demand in Rainier Valley despite the lack of quality bike lanes. The light rail stations are often located an awkward distance from major business districts and residential areas, a little long for a walk but too short to wait for a bus. Bike share is the perfect solution to this problem. Continue reading