1. Arts & Entertainment

100 days in, Tampa's Coast bike program attracts more than 3,250 riders

The new Coast Bike Share is doing as well as expected, officials say.
Published Mar. 24, 2015

TAMPA — At its 100-day mark, Tampa's Coast Bike Share program has attracted 3,258 members who have pedaled more than 23,750 miles — not quite a trip around the world.

The membership breakdown so far: 203 founding and annual members, 36 monthly memberships and 2,969 one-day riders. The rest are corporate or business plans.

Annual members average about 2 miles per trip, while one-time riders average 3.16 miles per ride.

This suggests the system is being used as planned, Coast program director Eric Trull said, with locals taking shorter but more frequent trips, such as to get to work or run an errand, while visitors check out bikes to cruise around the waterfront.

Coast's busiest hubs are Hyde Park Village, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and Dick Greco Plaza near the Tampa Convention Center. Trull said the program plans to announce some new hubs in the next few weeks and install them by the end of April.

After launching on Dec. 6, Coast's busiest day so far was Feb. 21, with 333 miles ridden. The program estimates that its riders have saved $13,781 in driving costs, reduced carbon emissions by 29,908 pounds and burned 950,368 calories (the equivalent, it estimates, of nearly 1,600 Cuban sandwiches).

More important, city officials say, is that by increasing the number of cyclists on Tampa's roads, Coast is making city streets safer for biking and walking. Cities with more people biking and walking tend to have lower bicyclist and pedestrian fatality rates, according to a report from the Alliance for Biking & Walking, which works with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The bottom line is this: whether you are a user or not, Coast's presence — their members and the increased number of bikes out on Tampa's streets — is good for all cyclists," city spokeswoman Ali Glisson said in an email Monday.

About 1.2 percent of Tampa's commuters go to and from work via bicycle, according to the League of American Bicyclists.

Glisson noted that the Grid Bike Share program in Phoenix, operated by the same partnership of Social Bicycles and CycleHop that runs Coast — had lower first-quarter numbers than Coast: 2,205 riders going 14,075 miles.


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