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Nearly 434,000 Scooter Rides Were Taken During SXSW 2019

Gabriel C. Pérez

Note: This story includes raw data from the Austin Transportation Department. Official data would not have included trips of under a 10th of a mile or over 500 miles. 

Dockless scooters were the headliner in their first year at SXSW.

City data show the scooters outpaced rentable dockless bikes over 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 miles, 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 over 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 a 10th of a 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 the Austin City Council could amend the city's transportation code to include e-bikes and scooters.

Correction: This story initially said City Council could vote on scooter rules this Thursday, not next Thursday.

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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