Bikeshare Ridership Up From Pre-Pandemic Levels

Shared micromobility, particularly docked bikeshare systems, are seeing record growth, but ‘scooter inflation’ may cool riders’ enthusiasm.

Read Time: 2 minutes

December 2, 2022, 7:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

U.S. bikeshare systems are bouncing back with a vengeance after the pandemic, reports Sarah Holder for Bloomberg CityLab, with systems around the country seeing ridership growth of 18 percent over 2019. “Of all the modes, docked bikeshare was most resilient, declining only 24% between 2019 and 2020 even as transit ridership plunged by 81% and car travel by 40%.” Numbers were more mixed for e-scooters, which some operators pulled from cities as ridership dropped. “Ridership nearly doubled between 2020 and 2021 to 62.5 million, making up more than half of the year’s overall micromobility users, but the number of trips was still 27% lower than in 2019.”

Even with pandemic setbacks, shared micromobility’s popularity has grown steadily. “Since the dawn of the tiny vehicle revolution in 2010, US ridership has reached half a billion total rides.”

Holder warns that despite this growth, rising prices could drive away riders. “To remain a viable transportation option for residents, however, the industry will need to get a handle on scooter inflation. No longer subsidized by a glut of investor capital, the average dockless e-scooter or e-bike ride cost $7 in 2021 — double or more than 2018 rates, making it pricier than the typical transit trip and more comparable with sharing an Uber or Lyft.”

Alex Engel, NACTO’s senior communications manager, also points to the need for safer infrastructure for bikes and scooters in many cities. “Beyond environmental or economic forces, the future popularity of micromobility will have a lot to do with how streets are designed and how systems reach riders.”

Thursday, December 1, 2022 in Bloomberg CityLab

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