Capital Region

Bike-share exceeds ridership and member goals

15,000 trips by bike share to date
Ride share bicycles stand in front of the Schenectady County Public Library in 2017.
Ride share bicycles stand in front of the Schenectady County Public Library in 2017.

CAPITAL REGION — The region’s bike-share program has exceeded its goals for the year, a Capital District Transportation Authority spokeswoman said.

Through Aug. 26, the CDTA bike-share program had been used 15,132 times, said CDTA spokeswoman Jaime Watson. The program has also exceeded its goal of 5,000 members since its launch, she said.

“For this year, we were hoping for 15,000 rides and 5,000 all-time members, and we have hit both those goals,” Watson said. “We’ve seen pretty consistent ridership, so we’re really pleased to have achieved those goals with two months left in the ridership.”

The bike-share program launched — for its second year — in the spring, after having expanded to 80 locations in Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga Springs and Troy. The bikes will be available until Nov. 30, when the program will shut down for the winter.

So far this year, the sturdy bikes have been rented 10,665 times in Albany, 2,490 times in Saratoga Springs, 1,001 times in Troy, and 976 times in Schenectady.

The CDPHPCycle!  program first launched in July 2017, with about 40 locations. In addition to new locations, the number of bikes increased from 160 to 350 this year.

The bicycles cost $5 per hour to rent, though people who purchase season passes get a significant discount.

Last year, the bikes were rented more than 11,000 times between late July and the end of the bicycling season in November. That participation spurred officials to hail the program’s first year as a success.

The bike-share system is managed by CDTA, with corporate sponsorship from the CDPHP health plan. The system itself is operated by Social Bicycles, of Brooklyn, which was purchased earlier this year by ride-share company Uber as part of a larger corporate acquisition.

Watson said people in Albany, in particular, are using the bikes to commute to work, as well as for recreation. The bikes are equipped with large baskets that allow riders to carry groceries or packages.

“We are seeing ridership in all the areas where we put the new bikes and stations,” she said. “A lot of those locations were determined by the community and the riding public.”

In Schenectady and Troy, where ridership numbers are lower, Watson said CDTA is visiting farmers markets and other events to familiarize people with the program.

Initial funding for the bike-share program was only for two years, ending in November. But Watson said the program will be back in 2019, though details of how that will happen still need to be worked out.

“Initially, it was a two-year program, but it’s become so popular that it would be difficult to eliminate it,” she said.

Reach Daily Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.


Categories: News, Schenectady County

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