Indego Bike Killed It This Weekend

There were 13,000 Indego rides during the papal visit. A normal weekend gets 6,000.
Photo by Bradley Maule

Photo by Bradley Maule

Philadelphia’s bike share system has never been used more on a daily basis than it was when Pope Francis was in town this weekend.

“Previously, the most trips taken on a single day [was] set on Wednesday, August 12th,” said Kiera Smalls, a spokeswoman for Indego. “Indego set new records each day, with riders taking 2,800 Indego trips on Friday, 4,900 trips on Saturday, and 5,300 trips on Sunday.”

A typical weekend, starting on Friday and ending Sunday, garners only 6,000 rides. Indego more than doubled up, which makes perfect sense.

During the papal visit, SEPTA service was limited and many major streets were closed to traffic. So naturally residents and pilgrims alike decided to get around on a bike, including those who may typically avoid cycling out of fear of sharing the road with cars.

“They tried it, and they loved it,” said Denise Goren, Director of Mayor Michael Nutter‘s Office of Transportation and Utilities, in a statement. “This weekend was the perfect example of the value that Indego contributes to our public transportation network.”

It will be an interesting to see whether Indego’s success during the papal visit will have a lasting impact on the bike share system, or if it was just a blip. Were most of this weekend’s rides made by pilgrims, or did a sizable number of residents hop onto Indego’s bikes too? We’ve posed that question to Indego, but haven’t yet heard back.