Citi Bike Ridership Numbers Show Bike Share is Just as Hot as the Weather

Citi Bike riders kept on rolling.
Citi Bike riders kept on rolling.

The weather wasn’t the only thing that was smoking hot this week.

Citi Bike ridership was exceptional during the heat wave of the last week, with trip numbers remaining high despite the fact that temperatures in the Baked Apple frayed nerves, soaked shirts and more or less made everyone (everyone not on a bike, apparently) miserable.

As the chart below shows, the bike-share system enjoyed roughly 120,000 trips each of the first five days of the epic heatwave before dipping slightly. But even the 99,000-plus trips on Aug. 7 — when the high temperature for the day  was 92 and the “feels-like” factor was “Dantean” — demonstrate the importance of Citi Bike as a part of the city’s transportation system (albeit one that does not fully cover all of the Bronx, Brooklyn or Queens yet, yet alone completely ignores Staten Island).

For an interactive version of this chart, click here
For an interactive version of this chart, click here

The Lyft-owned company actually set a weekly record between July 31 and Aug. 6, which includes two days that weren’t part of the heat wave. During those seven days, the system handled an all-time high of 837,729 rides.

Citi Bike’s record is the 135,005 rides it hosted on Sept. 11, 2021 — which, if you recall, was temperate, with highs that did not even make 80 — so this week’s heat wave performance shows that the ever-growing Citi Bike system is still widely used even when no one wants to be outdoors.

“The weather has been hot lately, but Citi Bike has been even hotter,” said Citi Bike General Manager Laura Fox, recently named the 34th most powerful transportation player in town. “New Yorkers are continuing to turn to bikeshare in record numbers, with daily ridership well over six figures and a strong preference for a breezy e-bike ride.”

The impressive numbers come partly thanks to Citi Bike recovery from a shortage of bikes earlier in the summer. As Streetsblog reported in June, the demand increase that typically accompanies the return of spring-like weather in New York brought about a spike in unavailable docks and a smaller amount of available bikes. On Wednesday, for example, the Lyft-owned company only had about 8.1 percent of its 21,949 bikes out of service, the automated Citi Bike Stats Twitter account, which is not affiliated with Citi Bike but uses the bike share system’s open data. That’s down from about 10.56 percent of the bikes out of service during the earlier crisis.

Electric bikes continue to prove to be popular (there are about 2,300 working bikes available at any given time). In that heat-wave week, 38 percent of all rides were on electric Citi Bikes, even though those vehicles only comprise 17 percent of the fleet. On an average day during the heat wave, a classic pedal bike was ridden 3.4 times per day, but e-bikes got far more use: 12.5 rides per day for the new gray models and 8.9 rides per day for the original e-Citi Bike.