Why don’t the poor use bike share systems?

Bicycle sharing systems have been spreading like wildfire over the past few years, with new initiatives in New York and Chicago bringing the idea to America’s biggest cities. But even the oldest such systems aren’t very old, so we’re still learning a lot about how they work. One striking finding of a major new report from the Mineta Institute at San Jose State University is that bike shares cater disproportionately to the rich. At least they do in the four major established systems in the US and Canada that the report examined. For each city, this table shows two different populations. In the left column, you get the share of the city’s total population that belongs to each income bracket. In the right column, you get the share of the city’s total bike share membership that belongs to each income bracket. In all four cities, you see that low income cohorts are a lower share of the bikeshare population than they are of the total population. In the high income cohorts it’s the opposite. 17 percent of Salt Lake City bike share members earn over $150,000 a year, even though such well-to-do individuals are only 8 percent of the city’s total population. Read on here.