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Data suggests that Metro’s day-long shutdown earlier this week may have earned Capital Bikeshare some new fans.
On Wednesday morning, the day Metro decided to call in sick, Capital Bikeshare usage appeared to spike dramatically. From 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. that morning, stations collectively spent 8,552 minutes either full or empty. That’s way up from 2,928 minutes the day before. On Thursday morning, with the Metro system back, the total was 6,844 minutes—still more than twice as much as Tuesday’s number.
(Full stations prevent users from ending their trips, and empty stations mean they can’t get a bike in the first place. In lieu of trip history data, which is not released immediately, time spent full or empty is a decent proxy for how much the system is being used.)
Before concluding that the all-powerful bike lobby called in a hit on Metro, we should note some caveats. Three days is a tiny sample size. Full or empty stations could be partly a result of Capital Bikeshare’s rebalancers (who drive around in vans moving bikes from fuller to emptier stations) slacking off, rather than just a surge a demand. And it’s true it was as bit chillier on Tuesday morning than Wednesday or Thursday.
But it was still decent weather for early spring on Tuesday, and it didn’t rain during any of the mornings. Plus, conspiracy theories have been born of flimsier evidence.
Station status data pulled from CaBi Tracker
Photo by Darrow Montgomery