Various studies show that bikeshare systems have positive implications for people's health, social cohesion, urban livability, and urban congestion, although many suggest bikeshare systems are not achieving equity goals, particularly regarding low-income people and women. To date, most of these studies come from cities in the Global North, the majority with well-managed governance structures and less inequality. Less is known about how well bikeshare systems work in the highly fragmented and unequal cities that characterize Latin America.
Using both primary and secondary data, we analyzed equity through the five Ws of bikeshare in Santiago, Chile, exploring which population groups are using the system (‘who’), travel purposes (‘what’) and time periods (‘when’), from/to which locations (‘where’) and the reasons behind using this transport alternative (‘why’). To do this, we used three main data sources: data from tracked trips of bikeshare cyclists (BSC) using the primary system in Santiago (Bike Santiago system run by Tembici), Santiago's Origin-Destination Survey data for own-bike cyclists (OBC), and a survey of BSC. This article contributes to current knowledge about bikeshare and equity in a still underexplored Latin American context with limited bikeshare data, providing some conclusions regarding the adaptation of these systems to local contexts.
In line with findings elsewhere, we found that the largest group of users consisted of educated men aged 25–45 from medium- to high-income neighborhoods, mainly using the system to travel to work. Santiago's fragmented governance has limited the placement of bikeshare systems in low- and middle-income communities and left them with few intermodal alternatives to relevant destinations. As a result, bikeshare mimics the existing inequity and economic concentration patterns that characterize Santiago's daily mobility. Based on these findings, we suggest key considerations and local adaptations that could improve, expand, and redistribute bikeshare facilities to attract currently excluded users.