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Nearly 434,000 scooter rides were taken during SXSW 2019

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Dockless scooters were the headliner in their first year at South by Southwest.

City data show the scooters outpaced rentable dockless bikes during the festival, accounting for nearly 434,000 rides over the 10 days of SXSW – 12.3 percent of the 3.5 million scooter rides since the scooters descended upon Austin last April.

Still, nearly 32,000 riders hopped on dockless bikes, accounting for nearly a quarter (23 percent) of the rides since the city began tracking ridership in April last year.

Here’s a breakdown of the overall numbers:

  • Bike riders traveled a median distance of 1.09 miles, with each ride lasting a median of 10.6 minutes
  • Scooter riders traveled a median distance of 0.65 mile, with each ride lasting a median of 7.8 minutes
  • Over SXSW, there were 31,843 rides taken on dockless bicycles, compared to the 136,643 rides overall since April 2018
  • Over SXSW, there were 433,942 rides taken on dockless scooters, compared to the 3.5 million rides overall since April 2018
  • March 9 had the highest number of individual scooter rides in a single day: 52,254
  • March 14 had the highest number of bike rides in a single day: 4,341
  • All told, there were 465,785 dockless vehicle trips taken during SXSW 2019

Below is a map of where all the dockless bike and scooter rides began from March 8 through March 17.

It’s important to keep in mind that city data don’t measure rides under 0.1 mile. It’s also important to keep in mind that the city is still evaluating how exactly it plans on regulating the usage of dockless scooters. While bikes have set rules for the road, scooters don’t.

The city did enforce a ban on riding scooters through the more populated areas of the festival.

That gap in rules is set to close as soon as next Thursday, when City Council could amend the city’s transportation code to include electric bikes and scooters.

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT. Photo by Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT.

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