In the run-up to SafeTrack, Capital Bikeshare launched a single-trip fare letting cyclists take half-hour bike rides for $2 — an effort to capitalize on the surge of two-wheeled commuters created by Metro’s maintenance blitz.
Newly-released figures show its experiment has paid off in a big way.
During the first week of SafeTrack, the bikeshare system saw a record number of users: 89,436, according to the District Department of Transportation. The figure represents a six percent increase over its previous ridership record, which was established in May 2015 during Bike to Work Week.
Since the new fare option launched, the proportion of riders using bikeshare for a single trip has more than doubled — from about 600 to more than 1,300 daily, DDOT says. Before the single-trip fare launched, the only option for one-time use was an $8 day-long bikeshare membership.
The soaring bikeshare use is consistent with a broader trend we’ve seen during Metro disruptions. When Metro shut down for emergency repairs on March 16, the day’s bikeshare ridership was near record-levels set during May 2015.
In Arlington, the proportion of Bikeshare users was up 20 to 50 percent this week.
But it’s not just bikeshare that is thriving. DDOT’s figures show how cycling has increased overall in D.C. since SafeTrack launched. Automated counters showed ridership jumps of 59 percent on Eye Street SW, 40 percent on the Metropolitan Branch Trail and 31 percent on the 15th Street cycle track, as compared to June 2015.
And many of new bike commuters are coming from Arlington, where SafeTrack began June 4 with 13 days of round-the-clock single-tracking between Ballston and East Falls Church.
For the first two weeks of June, about 42 percent more weekday trips were taken on the Key Bridge crossing to and from North Arlington compared to the same period last year. That’s an increase of 900 trips per day, according to DDOT.
Metro’s second SafeTrack surge, a shutdown of the Orange, Blue and Silver Lines from Eastern Market to Minnesota Avenue and Benning Road, is set to begin Saturday. DDOT plans to expand Bikeshare capacity at Eastern Market for the surge.