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How Much Does Your City’s Bike Share Cost?

We gathered data from local bike share programs in 65 cities nationwide to find out!

Updated: October 18, 2018

No, it’s not just you: Over the past half-decade, bike sharing programs have exploded in popularity. And not just in America. Their meteoric rise has been a worldwide phenomenon. Between 2013 and 2016 alone, the global number of shared bicycles jumped from 700,000 to 2.3 million!

Much like car sharing companies, local bike sharing programs don’t just benefit hometown residents. They’re great for tourists as well. Why spend a hefty chunk of your vacation budget on a car rental or ride shares when you can head to the nearest docking station and rent a bicycle as needed? You can even plan your own scenic tour!

But while many bike sharing programs in the U.S. are fairly affordable, some of them cost way more than others. To try and gain a clearer picture of bike sharing affordability nationwide, we looked up bike sharing programs in 65 different towns and cities across the country and we compared the costs of renting a bike for one day.

Here’s what we found!

How much does a one-day bike rental cost in your city?

CityCost for one day/8-hour rentalBike share service
Fargo, ND$5.00Great Rides Bike Share
Los Angeles, CA$5.00Metro Bike Share
Nashville, TN$5.00Nashville B-cycle
Dayton, OH$5.00Link Dayton Bike Share
Greenville, SC$5.00Greenville B-cycle
El Paso, TX$6.00El Paso B-cycle
Omaha, NE$6.00Heartland B-Cycle
Minneapolis, MN$6.00Nice Ride
McAllen, TX$6.00McAllen B-cycle
Des Moines, IA$6.00Des Moines B-cycle
Madison, WI$6.00Madison B-cycle
Birmingham, AL$6.00Zyp
Salt Lake City, UT$7.00Green Bike
Louisville, KY$7.50LouVelo
Aspen, CO$7.50WE-cycle
Columbus, OH$8.00CoGo Bike Share
Fort Worth, TX$8.00Fort Worth B-cycle
Indianapolis, IN$8.00Indiana Pacers Bike Share
Charlotte, NC$8.00Charlotte B-cycle
Washington DC$8.00Capital Bikeshare
Detroit, MI$8.00MoGo
Las Vegas, NV$8.00RTC Bike Share
Tucson, AZ$8.00Tugo Bike Share
Arlington, TX$8.00Zagster Bike Share
Jackson, WY$8.00START Bike
Cincinnati, OH$8.00RedBike
Boulder, CO$8.00Boulder B-cycle
Chattanooga, TN$8.00Bike Chattanooga
Denver, CO$9.00Denver B-cycle
Oklahoma City, OK$9.00Spokies OKC
San Jose, CA$9.95Ford Go Bike
San Francisco, CA$9.95Ford GoBike
Philadelphia, PA$10.00Indego
Boston, MA$10.00Blue Bikes
Colorado Springs, CO$10.00PikeRide Works
Oakland, CA$10.00Ford Go Bike
Tulsa, OK$10.00This Machine
Lincoln, NE$10.00BikeLNK
New York, NY$12.00Citi Bike
San Antonio, TX$12.00SWell Cycle
Austin, TX$12.00Austin B-cycle
Chicago, IL$15.00Divvy Bikes
Albuquerque, NM**$16.00Pace Bikes
San Diego, CA$24.00Discover Bike
Miami, FL$24.00Decobike
Wichita, KS**$24.00Bike Share ICT
Columbus, IN**$24.00Columbike
Atlanta, GA**$25.00Relay Bike Share
Phoenix, AZ**$25.00Grid Bike Share
Mesa, AZ**$25.00Grid Bike Share
Seattle, WA**$25.00LimeBike
Dallas, TX**$25.00LimeBike
Pittsburgh, PA**$32.00Healthy Ride
Sacramento, CA**$33.55Jump Bikes
Kansas City, MO$35.00Kansas City B-cycle
Buffalo, NY**$37.30Reddy Bikeshare
Memphis, TN**$40.00Explore Bike Share
Portland, OR**$43.40BIKETOWN
Eugene, OR**$47.50Peace Health Rides
Houston, TX**$48.00Houston B-cycle
New Orleans, LA**$53.00Blue Bikes Nola
Long Beach, CA**$56.00Long Beach Bike Share
Cleveland, OH**$56.00UH Bikes
Honolulu, HI**$56.00Biki
Milwaukee, WI**$64.00Bublr Bikes

**does not have a daily pass option.

How did we determine these costs?

For some bike sharing programs, figuring out the total cost of a one-day rental was easy! These were the programs that had one-day rental options. With other programs, it wasn’t quite so simple. These were the places that only had hourly rentals, pay-as-you-go rates, or some combination of the two. Programs that lack a daily pass are marked with a ** symbol.

We decided that we would use an eight-hour time period as our point of comparison. Eight hours is roughly equivalent to a full day of activity, and this would give us a standard measure to use across all the different hourly and pay-as-you programs. If an hourly/pay-as-you-go program has a maximum daily charge, we have used that number to determine the total cost per day.

Here’s an example: Let’s say that your city’s bike share costs $5.00 for one hour, and then $.10 for every minute after that. We would multiply $.10 by 60 minutes, coming out to a cost of $6.00 per hour. So it would be $5.00 for the first hour, and then $6.00 per hour for the seven hours after that. Add it all up, and the cost of your city’s bike share would be $47.00

If it helps, you can think about our eight-hour measurement like it’s the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of this experiment. Just like comparing APR lets you find out the true cost of, say, a payday loan versus a standard personal loan, using an eight-hour day allows us to make an apples-to-apples comparison across bike sharing programs.

One final note: A number of these programs also rent out electrically-assisted bikes as well as e-scooters, and we decided not to include these in our research. These prices reflect almost exclusively the local bike-share programs that are limited to that specific city.

What city has the cheapest one-day bike share?

You probably thought it was Portland. Or Minneapolis. Or Austin. Or Denver. Or really any one of the many crunchy, bike-friendly cities spread across the country.

But you’re wrong. The U.S. city with the cheapest one-day rental is … well, okay, it’s a five-way tie. Not nearly as exciting as having one clear winner, but what are you going to do?

We found five U.S. cities that charge $5.00 for a full-day pass:

In general, the cheapest cities were the ones that had daily rental options, while the most expensive were programs with hourly/pay-as-you-go rates. One important thing to note: Some daily rental passes still limit you to 30 minute or hour-long rides before you have to dock your bike, and then rent it again to continue riding.

Now, granted, you’ll get unlimited shorter rides within that one-day period, but you’ll still need to dock your bike every 30 minutes to 60 minutes or likely incur additional charges. And some also have waiting periods before you can take another bike out.

In short, do your research before using a bike share—especially if you’re a tourist visiting the city in question—and plan your activities accordingly to minimize costs.

What cities have the most expensive one-day bike shares?

As we mentioned in the previous section, the highest costs we found were from bike sharing programs that lacked a daily rental option. In order to rent a bike for one day in these cities, you would simply pay by the hour or pay as you go.

Naturally, that payment structure leads to higher costs. And while many daily pass options still require you to stick to 30 minute or hour-long rides before docking the bike again, those unlimited rides still add up to substantial savings.

If you’re looking to rent a bike for one day (or eight hours), here are the five most expensive cities that we found:

 

One thing you’ll want to look for when researching a potential bike share program is whether or not they have a daily maximum charge. It’s almost guaranteed to be much lower than the cost of renting a bike for a full eight hours would be.

And here’s a helpful hack if you’re visiting one of the more expensive cities on this list: Check out the cost of their long-term passes. Even if you end up purchasing a monthly pass and only using it for two days, there’s a good chance that it’ll cost you less money overall. Just remember to cancel any recurring charges!

What’s the average cost of a one-day bike share rental?

Tallying up the 65 bike share programs that we studied nationwide, the mean average cost of a one-day bike share rental is $19.86.

That’s not bad! Eight hours of pedal-powered transportation around your city at a rate of almost $2.50 per hour. And unlike with renting a car (or owning one for that matter), you don’t have to pay anything extra for gas!

If you’re wondering what the most common cost of a bike share is, we’ve also got you covered. It’s $8.00, a price tag shared by a whopping 13 different cities:

Is bike sharing the solution for you?

There are many cities across the U.S. where relying on a bike share for full-time transport might not be the most cost-effective solution, especially for local residents. Heck, in some of the cities we mentioned in the previous section, even a tourist might find using Uber and Lyft to be less costly than renting a bike.

But still, there are still tons of places where utilizing a bike share—whether as a tourist or as a resident—will not only a provide you with a healthier and more environmentally friendly alternative to using a car, but will add up to some massive money savings as well.

If you have any questions about our study, please feel free to contact us on Facebook and Twitter. If you enjoyed this piece and want to read more stuff just like it, check out these related research and articles from OppLoans:

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