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June 17, 2013
Citibike NYC

I'm a fan of bicycling, and the launch of Citi Bike here in New York is something I am still quite excited about! While the launch has had its share of glitches, it's really shaping up. Their blog has been giving daily statistics, and I thought I'd put them in a spreadsheet to see if anything interesting could be made. I've made the spreadsheet public in Google Docs in case anybody wants to do some additional analysis.

Some initial comments on the data:

  • The average speed is calculated based on the total mileage counter, trip count, and average trip duration. After the first few days (whose data is a bit all over the place), it settles in at about 7.4-7.5 MPH. Do we think that their distance calculation is A) as the bird flies, B) bird-distance * cityadjustmentfactor, or C) they route most likely route in google maps? Probably safe to rule out C, and given the top speed of these things is probably around 15MPH, I'd say it's probably B (some 1.3x cityadjustmentfactor, or something).
  • If we assume that the last 5 days worth of data on day and week passes hold steady (I know, unlikely, as factors such as season, initial buzz, conversion to annual members, and so on will affect things greatly), these will bring in $9.3 million and $2.2 million per year respectively.
  • If annual members top out at 80,000 (a little under twice what it is now, I would say this is very conservative), that'll be around $7.6 million per year.
  • It becomes apparent why they are called "Citibike" and also have Mastercard logos on them (as they ponied up something like $41 million and $6 million respectively -- I wonder if this is one time or per year).
  • Hopefully annual membership will continue to grow well past 80,000, though, and presumably there will be extra revenue from late fees...
  • I wonder what their operating budget is...
  • OK discussions of money are sort of a bummer (not because of whether this is feasible or not, but just because talking about money makes me uncomfortable): the average trip length of 2-3 miles is pleasing.. 2 miles in a long way in Manhattan, glad to see people are making good use of the bikes!
On an unrelated-to-citibike-data-note, it is also humbling to see that even when CitiBikes are being used in record numbers, they are still far, far outnumbered by normal bicycles. Anyhoo..

If anybody makes any interesting graphs or correlations or extrapolations with that data, post 'em (or links) in the comments...

Posted by Wes Kussmaul on Mon 17 Jun 2013 at 19:56 from 76.119.211.x
So why do the Citibikes get such bad pr in NYC? They've been well received everywhere else.

Posted by matt on Tue 18 Jun 2013 at 13:21 from 108.182.51.x
could d) manhattan distance (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxicab_geometry be another option for the distance calculation?

Posted by matt on Tue 18 Jun 2013 at 13:58 from 108.182.51.x
Here's one where I plotted number of trips vs. rainfall:

Posted by Justin on Mon 24 Jun 2013 at 02:29 from 12.130.118.x
I just brought it up to date, looks like they have a typo for their June 20 numbers, 25 minutes average ride is really high, and that puts an average speed of 4.78mph, vs the typical 7.4mph.... I bet they meant 15 minutes.

Posted by Justin on Mon 01 Jul 2013 at 12:35 from 184.75.98.x
Ahh, looks like the bikes record their own gps data on every trip, crazy.

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