In 2015, St. Pete had a vision to bring bike share to downtown and nearly two years later, in February 2017, a blue fleet of 300 bikes launched at over 30 stations. But seeing bike share come to fruition was no easy feat. It took months of outreach and hours of public input to develop a system that was right for St. Pete.
Now, with one year of service under its belt, Coast is moving full steam ahead, and is using data from its first year of operations to improve and better serve the community. Last week, Coast presented its One Year Report to City Council and revealed some of the numbers behind the operation.
In its first year, which stretched from November 4, 2016 to January 31, 2018 (Coast began with 100 demo bikes in November 2016 before rolling out the full fleet in February 2017) over 45,000 trips were taken covering 91,591 miles. In total, these trips were taken by 8844 riders which includes 842 annual or monthly subscribers and 7646 casual riders who pay on a per trip basis.
Among these members, many have used the bike share system to replace trips that would have otherwise been taken by a car, and in some cases, even eliminating the need for a car altogether. Coast Member Steve Aikens says, “Since signing up as a Founding Member of Coast, it has helped me stay active and get in extra exercise I wouldn’t have got if I took a car. Paying less than $100 a year for Coast instead of several hundred a month on a car payment and insurance has saved me money.”
Overall, in its first year, 55% of trips were taken by residents from St. Pete and 65% were taken by residents of Pinellas County. Zooming out, almost 80% of riders were from the state of Florida while 16% were taken by residents outside of Florida with riders coming from all 50 states and Washington D.C.
The Bay Shore Drive and 5th Ave N hub near the Vinoy is the most popular starting point for casual riders while Coast subscribers prefer hubs near larger residential buildings, such as the hubs outside of Urban Flats at MLK Jr St & 3rd Ave S and the Hermitage at 1st Ave S & 8th St S.
Coast’s Regional Director, Eric Trull, says, “It took a community to build Coast Bike Share and it has taken the community to ensure its year one success… Armed with a year’s experience in St. Petersburg the Coast Bike Share team is raring to implement new ideas and improvements for 2018.”
One such idea will be launching Coast’s Bikes For Everyone Program which "will address barriers to bike share use among low-income communities.” The Program will offer a reduced $7 monthly membership to low-income residents, which comes with 60 minutes of ride time every day. The aim is to attract more riders in South St. Pete and better activate the bike share hub in the Deuces Live district, which is located at 9th Ave S and 22nd St S. With the addition of this program, Coast hopes to make bike share more equitable and accessible for riders in all income brackets.
Additionally, Coast will begin experimenting with virtual hubs which will allow users to lock up bikes anywhere in a defined zone, for free. Currently, you incur a small fee for locking up bikes outside of the 31 Coast hubs. These virtual hubs will provide more freedom for users and fill in the gaps in key neighborhoods. With these improvements, Coast hopes to keep the momentum after a successful first year, with hopes of increasing ridership and making St. Pete more bike-friendly.
To read the full Coast St. Petersburg Year One Report, which includes interactive tables and graphs, click here. For more information about Coast or to purchase a membership, visit their website!