Montgomery County Says Bikeshare Use Exceeded Projections in First Year

Montgomery County Says Bikeshare Use Exceeded Projections in First Year

County executive calls program a "tremendous success" after 35,000 trips taken

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Capital Bikeshare station in Woodmont Triangle at Veteran's Park.

Kris Coronado

Riders used Bikeshare bikes for 35,000 trips during the past year, a number that county officials say exceeded expectations.

“Bike-sharing is a tremendous success in our region,” County Executive Ike Leggett said in a statement released Wednesday. “Bikeshare is another cost effective transit option that can help reduce traffic congestion by eliminating the need to drive for short trips.”

The first 14 Bikeshare stations were installed in the county in October 2013 and there are now 51 stations in communities ranging from Friendship Heights in the south to Shady Grove in the north. The 35,000 trips were logged between October 2013 and the fall of 2014, according to the county press release.

Initially, skeptics worried the bike-sharing program that began in D.C. might not work in more suburban Montgomery County. The Washington Post reported in June the use of the bike network in the county was relatively low, with only 11,533 trips recorded between September 2013 and April 2014. Riders used stations in Rockville and Shady Grove infrequently, according to the news report.

Despite this, proponents of the program encouraged skeptics to wait until complete spring and summer statistics were available. Statistics now show that from May 2014 to December 2014 Bikeshare users in Montgomery County took a total of 30,182 trips, according to data posted on the Capital Bikeshare website. That works out to an average of 4,300 trips per month.

However, the data does show significantly less use of Bikeshare stations in the Shady Grove and Rockville area compared to those in the Bethesda and Silver Spring Metro areas. The upcounty stations averaged about 700 trips per month from May to December 2014, while the downcounty stations logged an average of 3,612 trips per month during the same period. There are 21 stations in the Rockville and Shady Grove area, compared to 30 in Bethesda and Silver Spring.

The upcounty stations were partially funded through a $1.3 million federal grant and $300,000 in funds from the City of Rockville. The downcounty stations were funded through a grant from the Maryland Department of Transportation and other funds from the Chevy Chase Land Co., which paid for the purchase of two stations, as well as contributions from Silver Spring developers.

Bikeshare allows users to rent bikes from stations posted in different locations for an hourly fee or using a long-term membership. After a trip is done, users return the bikes either to the same station or a different one depending on their location.

 

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