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First feedback from the dockless bike-share pilot in Seattle!

Cities, General

First feedback from the dockless bike-share pilot in Seattle!

BY   Alexandre Gauquelin   

It’s one of the first reports with a proper data analysis that have been published about dockless bike-sharing, about the pilot program launched in Seattle where Spin, LimeBike, Ofo are operating 6000 bikes.


The Seattle department of transport (SDOT) released the first data analysis after the first two months of operation. And well, looking at the stats, we have to agree that it is a success. Comparing to Pronto’s station-based scheme, all ridership figures are better, really better. Here are a few examples:

The comparison between Pronto and Spin is particularly interesting, as Spin’s first week of operation surpasses Pronto’s best week ever in terms of number of rides! The difference in trips/bike/day is also huge, as it increases from 0.7 for Pronto to 2.1 for Spin…


Of course it is a bit too easy to compare with figures only, as there is main differences between both schemes, and Pronto’s was renowned for its low usage rate (the municipality decided to definitely close the system in march 2017):


  • Pronto was maybe a badly designed bike-share scheme: 500 bikes was a very small number for such a city, and the area was quite limited.
  • On the other hand, the dockless companies are operating in the whole city, with an almost similar density to Pronto’s (70 bikes/mile² vs 100 bikes/mile²)


Regarding the dockless bikes usage, it is important to note that the number of trips/bike/day increases steadily with the number of bike available. So far, if the number of bike increases, the usage too! It shows that the good density of bikes has not been reached yet. It will be interesting to see where the curve will bend to get an idea of the “perfect” bike density.

Unfortunately, there is no data at all regarding maintenance, vandalism, balancing… and operation in general. For many potential host cities to such schemes, it is still a big question mark!

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