Bike share grew in both use and reach this year -- here's what CDTA's thinking about for next year

bike share bikes and rack Corning Riverfront Park

The bike share rack in Corning Riverfront Park in Albany was the most active hub in the system this past season.

The bike share run by CDTA -- CDPHP Cycle -- wrapped up its second season last week, and the transit org reported this week that people took 23,535 trips on the bikes between April and the end of November. That's more than double the total of last year's season.

CDTA pushed to expand the program this year, doubling the number of bikes to more than 300, and increasing the number of rack locations from 40 to more than 70 across larger service areas in Albany, Schenectady, Troy, and Saratoga Springs. It also managed to get more than 4,000 new members for the system, bringing the total to almost 6,600.

And here's what CDTA's thinking about for next year...

(Also: The most popular hub locations and a few other numbers.)

Targeted expansion

"I don't the think the system's going to grow a whole lot [next year], probably some modest expansion, targeted expansion," said CDTA CEO Carm Basile this week at an event wrapping up this past season.

Possible spots for expansion: smaller downtowns not currently included in the coverage area, college campuses, and maybe some of the institutions and employers with which CDTA has "universal access" agreements in which people associated with those orgs ride for free.

Toward the end of this past season CDTA included bike share in RPI's universal access plan, the first time it's done that. And Basile said the early result was very encouraging.

"It's amazing, it's a very short time at RPI, but you can see the ridership gain in Troy."

cdta bike share downtown Troy 2017-November

Trying to spur growth in Troy and Schenectady

Albany is the epicenter of the bike share system's popularity. And the bikes get a lot of use in Saratoga during the summer. Troy and Schenectady... not so much. How to change that?

"The easiest thing to do is just to add more stations and more bikes in communities [where the service] hasn't been perhaps as popular. But I think you have to be a little more strategic about it," Basile said, pointing to the recent universal access experience with RPI.

So, maybe that means setting up a similar agreement with Union College or SCCC or, as Basile mentioned, even something at a place like Mohawk Harbor and its growing residential component.

"Schenectady and Troy have lagged," Basile said. "I look at it as a challenge in the small communities to educate and entice people to use it."

bike share rack near Albany Med

Keeping an eye on how people use bike share

Now with two seasons worth of experience and data for bike share, CDTA says it's starting to get a sense of how people are using the bikes. And some of those uses are pretty much what you'd expect. Spots such as Corning Riverfront Park in Albany and Saratoga Spa State Park get a lot of use, presumably from people taking bikes out to pedal around recreationally.

But the picture starting to emerge in Albany is a little more textured and interesting. Basile said the numbers and observation point to many people using the bikes for what he described as "purposeful" trips -- commuting, running errands, or to connect with a bus line.

(An example of the data that suggests this sort of use: CDTA's Lauren Bailey -- who's been overseeing the bike share program -- says there are spikes of trips during morning commute times, a day part that doesn't match up with people using the bikes recreationally.)

One of the things that's interesting about these sorts of patterns is that they point to the possibility that bike share is, in some small way, becoming a regular entry on the overall menu of transportation options for some people, and it might even be filling in a few gaps.

Scooters?

The use of electric scooters -- specifically bike share-style "dockless" scooters deployed by private companies -- has been booming in a bunch of big cities around the country during the past year. And CDTA has taken note.

"Everywhere I go -- I was in Washington last week, Nashville a month or two ago -- there's scooters everywhere," Carm Basile said, also noting some of the safety and clutter issues associated with them. "But it's a mobility choice that people say they want."

In these other cities, the boom has largely been driven by venture capital-backed private companies such as Bird and Lime. But Basile said he's been thinking about whether there's a way for CDTA to maybe do scooters here in a way that works. Maybe. Eventually.

"If there's a way for us to be involved and we can add something, let's do it," he said.

bike share rack Washington Park 2018-04-18

Bike share 2018 stats

Weekdays
Average trips per day: 89
Average trip duration: 26:28
Average trip distance: 2.2 miles

Weekends
Average trips per day: 200.5
Average trip duration: 36.07
Average trip distance: 2.8 miles

Top five most active hubs
1. Hudson River - Corning Preserve in Albany
2. Saratoga Spa State Park
3. Madison Ave and Lark Street in Albany
4. Madison Ave and Western Ave ("The Point") in Albany
5. Washington Park - Madison Ave and New Scotland Ave in Albany

(A hub is a rack location.)

Top roundtrip hubs
1. Hudson River - Corning Preserve in Albany
2. Saratoga Spa State Park
3. Albany Mohawk-Hudson Rail Trail
4. Washington Park - Madison Ave and New Scotland Ave in Albany
5. Ontario Street and Madison Ave in Albany

Top start-end hubs
1. 15th Street and Beman Park to 15th Street and Sage Ave in Troy
2. 15th Street and Sage Ave to 15th Street and Beman Park in Troy
3. Madison Ave and Lark Street to to Albany Medical Center
4. Ontario Street and Madison Ave to Madison Ave and Western Ave ("The Point") in Albany
5. Western Ave and North Lake to Madison Ave and Lark Street in Albany

bike share hub near Madison and Western

Budget bits

Carm Basile said the budget for the bike share program this year was about $800k. That's covered by CDTA, CDPHP sponsorship, a federal grant, and membership payments. A mix that's set to continue for next year.

Of that $800k, Basile said membership covers a little short of 50 percent. For some frame of reference, he said that fares cover about 25 percent of CDTA bus service.
____

CDTA and CDPHP advertise on AOA.

Comments

In Troy--I made 11 trips ,via auto. from Congress st all the way south and back,on the bike route-This was on Saturdays and Sundays 11am and 1pm----total "green bikes" zero--total bikes 1 woman and child---3 walkers--live in the Burg-have never witnessed any green bike being used

I've seen a steady increase in cycling trips along Madison Ave. after the road diet. I've been one of those riders, too. It's made summertime trips from my house to the Point on Madison that much faster than walking, and there's really no need to drive that short distance - thereby saving a spot for another patron. I've not only enjoyed the F out of the trip, but burned a few calories, too, which considering my diet, is much needed. I'm very very pleased with this effort and thank CDTA, CDPHP and CDTC for their efforts in making this happen. I'm resolving to make MORE trips in 2019!

@Thomas, Troy's bike rack layout makes very little sense to me, so that's where i'm going to lay the blame. Half of the stations lie within a short, flat walk of each other. Definitely not enough in the 'burgh. Nothing in Watervliet. Nothing near HVCC. Nothing near any grocery stores. Nothing at any of the trails/bike paths or larger parks. So I don't see it as much use for errands or for recreation. You cant just cluster them at RPI and downtown and expect significant ridership.

Side note; for some inexplicable reason, CDPHP's map has a random gap in route 4 adjacent to HVCC. None of the source maps they site have this gap...

@Thomas

I live in Troy and use the bikes extensively for recreation on the weekends. This includes trips from downtown to the northernmost point of the Burgh via the bike path and back through the street grid. Maybe you'll see me riding through in the Spring!

CDPHP should provide helmets. It's a literal no-brainer when you consider the inevitable ugliness of a catastrophic injury.

"It's a literal no-brainer when you consider the inevitable ugliness of a catastrophic injury." I'm curious, in the last year, how many collisions involved a bike share rider? (I ask because this is what they said when NYC launched its bike share program, and it was not the horrorshow everyone predicted.)

beman park to 15th and sage ave is like one block. that doesn't make any sense. are people just using the bike for like a .2 mile walk?

@Jake

Beman park is in an more residential area giving access to folks living nearby and or going north, the 15th and sage rack would presumably be for students to access more areas of campus and ride south or west down into Troy. I would assume they put them a little closer together to provide more bikes to a group that uses them a lot. Its a similar situation in Albany with the Lark and Madison spot so close to the Deleware ave Price Chopper, if that rack is full at Lark then go to PC or if there isnt a bike at PC there might be one at Lark of vice versa.

@Thomas
Just because you dont see them doesnt mean they arent there. But we should get rid of all this bike nonsense because your very comprehensive research says nobody uses this nonsense. That is what you were trying to say, right? At least they werent in the way of your driving.

@ED
I noticed a significant change since season one with racks being moved further away from each other. Im not sure you are looking at the most current layout.

Re: helmets

its something multiple bike shares struggle with

here's an interesting stat

nearly to date (2017) the NYC system has had one death in 43 million rides.

Here's my source: https://www.metro.us/news/local-news/new-york/citi-bike-fatality-new-yorks-first-second-nationwide-bike-sharing

Nationally, one death in X million rides.

According to NYSDOH there were 25 automobile crash deaths in Albany County in 2014 (latest data available). Source: https://www.health.ny.gov/statistics/prevention/injury_prevention/traffic/county/albany/albany_co_crash_fs.pdf

More people should be riding bikeshare (and if possible, wearing helmets)

This is great. I saw a lot of people using the bikes this year in the Lark/Madison/Delaware area. And the hubs at the north and south ends of the ESP do seem to get a lot of commuter use.

re: helmets - You couldn't pay me to put a shared bike helmet on my head. Sorry, but there's a limit to the sharing.

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