The Capital Bikeshare station at Massachusetts Avenue NW and Dupont Circle gets a lot of love. In an average month, 9,751 people start or end trips there.
Six-and-a-half miles east, not far from the Maryland border, the Bikeshare station at 49th Street NE and Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue isn’t quite so popular. In a typical month, just nine people use the station.
In other words, Bikeshare’s most-used station gets more than 1,000 times the usage of its least-used station.
A recent Bikeshare survey showed that its users are becoming whiter and wealthier. But the per-station usage numbers, from the Office of Revenue Analysis’ District, Measured blog, suggest that’s less a factor of availability in poorer, majority-black parts of town, and more the result of lower usage in those areas.
That shouldn’t be surprising. Given the city’s topographic-bowl formation, outlying areas of the city tend to be higher and hillier. Neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River are particularly hilly and difficult to bike around without breaking a sweat. There’s a clear correlation between topography and ridership. Here are the 10 stations that are the most likely to be the start of trips, rather than the terminus:
What do they have in common? Nearly all of them are located on high ground, at the rim of the topographic bowl. Biking downtown from them is a breeze; heading back is a pain.
Across the District, Bikeshare use nearly tripled between 2011 and 2014. As the system continues to expand, its organizers have a difficult choice: add new stations to high-demand areas, or spread them more equitably throughout the city and risk having no one use them.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery; chart from District, Measured