Bike share fleet in Madison, Wisconsin. Photo courtesy of Phil Roeder.
From the Car2Go service to the Metro Rail, the city of Austin is always looking for new ways for citizens to get around without using their own vehicle. Austin B-Cycle, the city’s newest bicycle-sharing program, is ready to roll out this weekend. The system is managed by the Bike Share of Austin nonprofit organization, which has set up eleven stations in the downtown area. A fleet of 110 cherry red bicycles stand ready for Austinites to rent and bike all around the city. Currently, three stations have been set up along Congress Avenue south of Lady Bird Lake. The remaining stations can be found near hot spots like the Austin Convention Center and Republic Square Park. By March of next year, Austinites will be able to access a complete 40 station system with 400 bicycles available for use.
Austin’s B-Cycle program is meant to provide short-term transportation around Austin’s most congested areas. Most trips between stations are less than two miles, but there is no restriction where Austinites can travel with their red bicycle. Each bike is adjustable and comes with a basket, bell, front and back lights and reflectors. Users can check out bikes using their credit card at any kiosk. The first half-hour is free for every user and $4.00 for every thirty minutes after. More frequent users can purchase daily or weekly passes at $8.00 and $25.00, respectively. Austin B-Cycle also offers annual memberships for $80.00. Members receive a membership card to swipe instead of their credit card and can also track how many calories they burn each ride from their online account. All Austinites can download the Austin B-Cycle app to get real-time updates of available bikes and find locations.
Austin B-Cycle is the latest addition to the city of Austin’s alternative transportation solutions. Bike Share of Austin expects this program will help alleviate some of the traffic experienced in the downtown area. While the locations of future stations haven’t been announced, Zilker Park, East Austin and the University of Texas campus are high on the list of potential locations. Future discounts for students and other users are currently in the works. Other large metros like New York City and Washington, D.C. have seen success with similar bike share programs. Texas cities like Houston, San Antonio and Fort Worth also employ B-Cycle bike share services. Austinites can start commuting on two wheels beginning Saturday, December 21st.