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The Effect of Dockless Bike-Sharing on Public Transportation: An Empirical Study

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Document pages: 32 pages

Abstract: We examine the impact of a new mobile-based, dockless bike-sharing service on public transportation. In contrast to traditional rental bikes that are parked at fixed stations, the dockless bikes can be picked up and returned at literally anywhere. This dockless feature of the shared bikes likely provides a solution to the last mile problem, potentially making it a complement to public transportation. Assembling a unique panel data of shared-bike rides and subway traffic, we estimate the relationship between shared-bike ridership and public transportation. Our results show that increases in shared-bike rides lead to increases in subway traffic. This positive effect is stronger for peak hours during weekdays and non-peak hours during weekends. We argue this effect is most likely driven by shared bikes promoting public transportation use and substituting for private cars (substitution effect) and also stimulating new travel (stimulating effect). Overall, we find that dockless shared bikes, in contrast to most of the other sharing economy phenomenon, acts as a complement rather than a substitute for public transportation. In addition, increased use of dockless shared bikes has a positive societal impact, leading to less urban congestion and better environmental protection.

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