Nearly two months since the city launched its long-anticipated bike share program, Gotcha company officials say the Baton Rouge program is averaging 350 rides per day.
The average ride duration is about 20 minutes, says Gotcha spokesperson Caroline Passe, and the Gotcha app has recorded 2,500 downloads in Baton Rouge so far.
The company, however, did not provide data on bike rentals per location. Neither did the city-parish, which awarded the five-year bike share contract last fall to Gotcha—a South Carolina company—for $800,000, the majority of which is funded via a federal grant.
But Baton Rouge officials do receive weekly updates and data from Gotcha and are working with the company for access to a customized data dashboard.
The dashboard is expected to provide location-specific information, such as which bike stations are most active and which routes are most popular, says Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Rowdy Gaudet.
“We want to see what the trends are,” Gaudet says. “It’ll give us critical information about how the program is going and how frequently it’s being used.”
But the program is still in its infancy, so it’ll take some time to gather sufficient data. Gaudet adds the city-parish is especially curious to see how the bike share program is embraced at LSU home games, Live After Five and other downtown area events.
The data will also be useful as Baton Rouge considers scooters.
“It will inform us as we continue to have scooter discussions as a potential next step for Baton Rouge,” Gaudet says. “We want to take the same measured approach. There’s no timeline yet. It’s still in planning.”
In July, Gotcha rolled out 500 bikes across 50 hubs throughout the city, including LSU and Southern University.
While the bike share craze has taken off across the country, including other Louisiana cities like New Orleans, not all of the programs have been successful. In fact, bike rental services in Dallas—once seen as a testing ground for new mobility options—have all left the city, according to Governing. Scooters have since filled some of the mobility gaps.
One of the legacies bike share programs left Dallas is a “trove of data that can help advocates, city officials and transportation planners better address unmet needs,” Governing reports. “Before the wave of bikes came, people were using their best guess in recommending where bike lanes and other cycling infrastructure should be installed.”