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After summer surge in use, GREENbikes looking at expansion in Ogden

By Rob Nielsen - | Oct 11, 2023

Rob Nielsen, Standard-Examiner

GREENbike bicycles stand ready to be rented at the Ogden FrontRunner station on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023.

OGDEN — After a year in service, new additions to a bicycle program led to an explosion in use over the summer.

GREENbikes, which were introduced in Ogden on Aug. 1, 2022, saw a rapid increase in ridership over the summer after the introduction of e-bikes and a restructuring of rental fees.

GREENbike Executive Director Stan Penfold told the Standard-Examiner that the first year of the program in Ogden largely played out as expected.

“GREENbikes have been operational for a little over a year,” he said. “We kind of just had the fall last year, and winter, of course, is pretty slow. We saw sort of steady trips through last year; we didn’t expect a lot of activity in the first year. Our experience back in Salt Lake was it takes about a year for people to get used to it, figure it out, be aware that it’s an option. So we were seeing kind of a steady use of the system.”

However, he said that steady pattern changed this summer.

“In June of this year, two things happened,” he said. “We added e-bikes into our system for the first time — we added 40 e-bikes in tho the system in Ogden and a little less than half of the bikes, now, are e-bikes up there — and we changed our fee structure. We used to have just a day pass, so in order to ride the bike, the minimum thing you could purchase was a day pass. We went to a trip pass where you could do a trip for $3.”

Penfold said the effect was immediate.

“July was three times the number of trips we had the month before,” he said. “August went way up; August was considerably higher than a year ago. So we’re seeing this pretty significant trend in July, August and September where the number of trips has gone up pretty dramatically and the use of e-bikes has gone up pretty dramatically.”

He said around 2,300 trips were logged between August 2022 and August 2023. Meanwhile, going by months this year, May registered 148 trips, June saw 175 trips registered, July saw more than 400 trips registered, August registered 511 trips and September saw around 400 trips. Currently, the system has 100 total bikes in Ogden.

“We’re encouraged by that trend, and it also fits with the time it takes for people to get used to the system,” Penfold said.

City officials are also happy with how the program has played out in Ogden.

Justin Anderson, deputy director of public services for Ogden City, told the Standard-Examiner that the bike program has been a success from the city’s standpoint.

“We’ve added an additional station and we’ve also added e-bikes to the system,” he said. “I’ve seen ridership dramatically increase right around July of this year. … We appreciate our partnership with SLC GREENbike and we’re looking forward to working with them on continuing to expand this program.”

The GREENbike program in Ogden initially started out with six stations around downtown. This year, a seventh station was added in June on 25th Street across the street from The Monarch.

Penfold said the trends for users also differed greatly from other GREENbike locations.

“In Salt Lake, it’s mostly commuter based, so it’s people riding from our FrontRunner station to offices downtown,” he said. “We thought it’d be kind of similar in Ogden, but we’re not seeing the same number of trips. We have a station at the FrontRunner stop there in Ogden, but most of our trips in Ogden right now look like they’re on the river trail. Our most popular station there is currently the station we have at Grant Avenue and the (Ogden River) Parkway. It’s like 23% of all of our trips … and it looks like a lot of those trips are roundtrip, so they’re checking out a bike there, going up and down the river trail and they’re going back.”

Trips around downtown also saw increases.

Penfold said there is a high chance of expansion in the near future.

“We’re looking at some new locations for next year and we’re just in the process of plotting those out now,” he said. “I think we’ll try a couple more along the river trail because it’s a really popular location and I think part of what’s driving that is the residential (population) that’s growing around that location on Grant.”

Penfold said plans are to look into federal funds for up to four additional stations at this time. He said there are also plans to partner with businesses and seek out GREENbike stations closer to the Weber State University campus.

“When we’re looking at long-term plans, making a connection between downtown and campus is probably the most likely potentially popular connection,” he said. “We’re looking at where’s the best place to locate new stations and we’re trying to project that over about two or three years.”

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