Bike Share Broke Even

Back in September, I signed up for the Bay Area Bike Share scheme. I wrote about how I was getting on, and described the spreadsheet I’ve been using to keep track of my rides, and to see when the savings from not having to take a Muni bus would pay for the cost of the membership and helmet.

Today I have world-shattering news. This morning’s ride, chilly as it was, was the last one I needed to break even! As of today, I have saved enough bus fares to pay for the annual membership and my helmet and reflective ankle straps. You can see the spreadsheet in Google Docs here. Here’s how it looked as of today.

2013-11-11 10_27_29-Bay Area Bike Share Cost Savings - Google Drive

2013-11-11 09_03_39-Bay Area Bike Share Cost Savings

The graph has four series:

  • “Trips Countdown” shows the actual number of trips taken, counting down from 85 (the number of trips I needed to break even).
  • “2 rides per weekday” is a reasonable yet optimistic estimate based on riding once in the morning and once in the evening of each weekday.
  • “Projected Average Trips” is a more conservative estimate, including sometimes not riding in the evening due to being picked up by Cassie, and other factors.
  • “Today” just shows where today is. It’s a single orange bar at today’s date from the horizontal axis up to the “Trips Countdown” line, so today it is invisible.

While never beating the green line, and sometimes lagging behind the cyan line, I did manage to have quite a good run over the past couple of weeks. Every ride I take now saves me $2, which means by the time my membership expires, 297 days from now in September 2014, I may have saved over $500 if I ride just six times a week, and over $800 if I ride twice a weekday. Not bad.

Just out of curiosity, I looked into Wheels of Justice in Montclair Village yesterday, where a helpful chap in a Mogwai t-shirt showed me a couple of steady commuter bikes. Of course, if I were to buy a bike, there would then be the whole issue of maintenance, carrying it on the bus and all the hassle. The bike share scheme is great because I can just grab a bike and go, then leave it at a station and forget about it. But maybe in the future it will be worth getting a ride of my own.

In the meantime, I’ll carry on taking advantage of this great service. I hope it expands, gets more bikes and stations, and becomes a fixture of San Francisco street life, like similar schemes in other major cities around the world.