Profiles, Preferences, and Reactions to Price Changes of Bikeshare Users: A Comprehensive Look at Capital Bikeshare Data



Kaviti, Shruthi

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In the decade since 2007, public bikeshare systems (PBS) have disrupted the landscape of urban transportation systems all over the world. The rapid pace at which urban systems are enduring this disruption due to PBS has left cities and researchers play catch up on understanding various factors impacting the usage and impacts of PBS. Comprehending the profiles and preferences of bikeshare users have a substantial role to play in policy-making, planning and operational management at PBS. However, the research is scant related to these factors. As its first major objective, this research evaluated the impact of pricing on bikeshare ridership and revenue. As a case study, the introduction of single-trip fare (STF) for $2 by Capital Bikeshare (CaBi) was studied. Aggregate analysis results showed that the first-time casual (short-term) users increased by as much as 79% immediately after the introduction of STF. Jurisdiction-level analysis indicated a statistically significant increase in casual user ridership for identical 12-month periods before and after the introduction of STF. The introduction of STF did not impact ridership and revenues of registered (annual or monthly) members. Casual user revenues before and after the introduction of STF were also compared at the station-level, while controlling seasonal and weather factors. The results showed a statistically significant increase in ridership and decrease in revenue per ride for casual users after the introduction of STF. Even though casual bikeshare users account for a large share of revenue, literature provides very little insights about the casual users. As the second major objective of this research, profiles and preferences of bikeshare users (registered members and casual users) were obtained by conducting an intercept survey of CaBi users. Survey findings indicated that, when compared to casual users, registered members are more likely to earn more and are more sensitive to service as reflected by station density. A typical White user has 2.4 times greater odds of being registered members than other race. Analysis also revealed that each additional increase in the number of monthly trips leads to about 18% increase in the odds of the bikeshare user being a registered member. As the third major objective, this research evaluated price sensitivities and elasticities of bikeshare fare products using monadic design implemented in the survey instrument. Higher household income groups and White users were found to be less sensitive to price compared to other income groups and other races/ethnicities. Pivot-price elasticities revealed that females are about 30% and 10% more price sensitive than males for single-trip fare (STF) and annual membership, respectively. Also, sightseeing trips are 30% less price sensitive than work trips for STF purchasers. Results from this study would be useful in policy-making, planning and operations for bikeshare systems.



Bikeshare, Casual users, Elasticities, Pricing, Revenue, Ridership