Pronto! data proves Seattle bike share users prefer sunshine, downhill rides

Dec 1, 2015, 7:03 PM | Updated: Dec 2, 2015, 6:16 am
Pronto, bike share, vandalism...
The City of Seattle will dump Pronto bike share, according to KING 5. (AP)

Seattle’s bike-share service celebrated its first birthday in October. That first year is now offering a peek into how the system is being used.

Pronto!, Seattle’s bike-share service, handed out its first year of data to information gurus in a contest aimed at explaining how and when the service is being used, and who is using it. The results are out.

Related: How was Pronto! doing after six months?

A couple entrants used the data for more creative endeavors, such as converting it to music, or turning it into a game. A few, however, explained Seattle’s first year of bike sharing in a straight-forward manner. What did they say?

In short, whether Pronto’s users are annual members or short-term riders, they like to bike downhill in good weather. Far more trips are taken downhill than uphill. And usage takes a dive during rainy and cold days.

Related: City plans to take over Pronto! bike share service

Overall, Pronto’s service resulted in a total of 142,832 trips during its first year. That averages out to about 400 trips per day. All in a centralized area of Seattle, with an overall population of 652,405. The busiest day was April 20.

Compare that to other cities with bike share operations:

• Denver, in its fifth year of operation (2014), had 377,229 trips, with an average of 1,034 rides per day. Denver had 102,981 bike-share trips during its first year (2010). Denver has a population of 649,495.

• Boston’s bike share system, Hubway, had more than 1 million trips taken in 2014. Hubway began in 2011. Boston has a population of 645,966.

But revelations of fair weather and downhill trips are what most expected. What else did Pronto learn over its first year?

What was learned from Pronto data

Annual members mostly make point-to-point trips. And those trips are likely from Capitol Hill and South Lake Union.

Annual members take downhill rides far more than uphill trips. Nearly 80,000 downhill rides were taken during the first year, in contrast to about 50,000 uphill rides. That equates to nearly 100 bikes being shipped uphill by Pronto staff each day.

Pronto riders use the service more on fair-weather days, than on rainy days. This echoes the data that existed for bike-owners making trips over locations such as the Fremont Bridge before Pronto was in service.

Guest passes are being used more often in the downtown tourist areas. For example, stations at the Seattle Aquarium and Pier 69.

The bulk of Pronto’s stations have been built in regions with lower incomes than their surrounding neighborhoods.

Most members are between the ages of 25 and 34.

Pronto use peaked in July for both members and short-term users.

Trips that began in the U-District more often ended in the U-District. Except from some trips taken directly across the University Bridge to the Eastlake Avenue station.

Men are mostly using Pronto bikes around Amazon. While women are using the service more around Fred Hutch.

More men bought annual memberships (77 percent). Women accounted for 21 percent of memberships, and “other” accounted for 2 percent.

Annual members are using Pronto more often during the week. Their trips peak during morning/afternoon commute times. Annual members also make more trips during the middle of the week.

Short-term users more often use Pronto during the weekends.

Annual members take shorter trips than short-term users. The most common trip for an annual member lasts five minutes.

Populations numbers in this article use 2013 data

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Pronto! data proves Seattle bike share users prefer sunshine, downhill rides