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Effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on bike-sharing demand and hire time: Evidence from Santander Cycles in London

Shahram Heydari, Garyfallos Konstantinoudis and Abdul Wahid Behsoodi

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Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has been influencing travel behaviour in many urban areas around the world since the beginning of 2020. As a consequence, bike-sharing schemes have been affected partly due to the change in travel demand and behaviour as well as a shift from public transit. This study estimates the varying effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the London bike-sharing system (Santander Cycles) over the period March-December 2020. We employed a Bayesian second-order random walk time-series model to account for temporal correlation in the data. We compared the observed number of cycle hires and hire time with their respective counterfactuals (what would have been if the pandemic had not happened) to estimate the magnitude of the change caused by the pandemic. The results indicated that following a reduction in cycle hires in March and April 2020, the demand rebounded from May 2020, remaining in the expected range of what would have been if the pandemic had not occurred. This could indicate the resiliency of Santander Cycles. With respect to hire time, an important increase occurred in April, May, and June 2020, indicating that bikes were hired for longer trips, perhaps partly due to a shift from public transit.

Date: 2021-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-isf, nep-tre and nep-ure
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