Lime Scoots Ahead in 2019

We are hot off the presses with some new scooter stats, having received data for January through March of 2019. As you might imagine, scooter usage in Indianapolis is starting to recover with the warming temperatures and longer days. For readers in Indy, use those extra hours of sunlight we get by virtue of our western-but-still-EST location to read this recent WaPo story about this fantastic study of sunset times.

We’re still not anywhere near peak daily trips, but March has shown recovering ridership compared to January and February. March averaged 1,125 trips per day (not even one fifth of October’s 5,645 average number of trips), compared to 1,015 in January and 790 in February. Here’s how the months have stacked up on average daily trips:


Here’s a little more detail regarding the distribution of those daily trip averages. Notice that while October’s average (above) is greater than September’s, the median (see below) is less.


Pretty predictable so far. However, when we split these daily trip totals out by company, we start to see a trend in February and especially in March. Lime appears to be getting the bulk of the trips starting in February, and that gap expands considerably in March.


The boxplot above makes this fairly obvious in March; a line chart of daily trips makes this point even more forcefully. In March, Lime had more daily rides than Bird every single day; this was also true for just about every day in February.


What could explain this? The most obvious explanation is that Bird is simply not deploying as many scooters, or Lime is deploying a ton more. That could make sense strategically; it’s cold in Indianapolis, weather is unpredictable, why pay to have a scooter deployed if it is unlikely to be used regularly and is exposed to the elements? Another part of this finding could simply be the differences in company practices regarding nighttime ridership. Lime allows trips after 9pm and Bird doesn’t, so part of this gap could just be driven by late night rides.

Due to some issues with the data, we can’t answer this question just yet. But once we have a sense of how many scooters were used on a given day or month for each company, we can get a pretty good sense of deployment. And this can give us some insight into whether or not these daily trip differences are simply attributable to differences in the supply of scooters or hourly usage rates, or some combination of both.

More to come on this question soon!


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