|It wasn't until the second week of September|
I saw the first rental bikes in the wild.
The program has been active for about three months since launching in June and the initial results are in. More than 400 people have become members. There have been more than 800 rides...But behind the numbers things may not be very rosy.
Let's look at the numbers in round figures for an estimate of use. The bikes launched towards the end of June, so that gives us in about 120 days. Four months, not three. 800/120 = 7 rides per day. There are twenty-some bikes in the system, so let's say 21 are in working order every day.
That'll give us a nice round estimate that is close enough:
If Eugene had 3 rides per bike per day, which was very good; and Portland had about 1 ride per bike per day, which seems to be industry standard right now; Salem had 0.33 rides per bike per day.
So on the one hand, one-third ride per day leaves lots of room for growth. Upside! Cherriots is not wrong to hype the system and try to recruit more users.
But the flip side of the positivity is that it may hamper us from taking seriously the ways there are serious problems with infrastructure that cap the prospects for success of the rental system.
As we consider these first reports about the bike rental system, we should also be talking about how the downtown streets do not support a bike rental system very well. In the background should be a call for better infrastructure and other facilities. As it is, Salem is not positioning a bike rental system for maximum success.