Beginning May 2, Houston will be one of only 15 U.S. cities to launch a bike share program to make getting around downtown a whole lot easier. The bike share program, known as Houston B-cycle, is perfect for trips that are too far to walk, but too short to drive.
“Bike Share is a great new transportation program for Houston. It’s a quick, easy, and inexpensive alternative to being stuck in traffic or walking long distances in downtown,” said Mayor Annise Parker. “Riders can use our Houston B-cycle to run an errand, grab lunch at the City Hall, Farmers Market, pedal to Discovery Green or ride from the bus stop to the office, or just get some fresh air and exercise.”
Houston joins the likes of, Chicago, Washington DC and Denver, CO in providing Bike Share as an active transportation alternative for the City. Houston’s initial phase will include 3 stations and 18 bikes and grow to 200 bikes and more than 20 stations in additional downtown and other Houston areas by the end of the year. Laura Spanjian, the Mayor’s Director for Sustainability said pollution, traffic, and rising oil costs are just a few of the reasons why downtowners need options for getting around.
Houston B-cycle will initially be available at City Hall, Market Square Park, and the George R. Brown Convention Center. The self-service B-cycle stations will be available from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. Bikes can be checked out during these hours and dropped back at the same location or any other B-cycle station.
Houston B-cycle is a membership driven bike share system. Memberships are available by day, week or year. All members have unlimited access to the bikes. With a paid membership, the first 90 minutes are free. Ride time after the first 90 minutes is just $2 for each additional half hour with a maximum charge of $55 a full day. A One Day Membership can be purchased at a B-cycle station for just $5. Weekly Memberships are $15 and Annual Memberships are $50, which is under 20 cents per day!
All memberships start at the time of your first bike use, not the day and time you purchased the membership. (Tip: To save usage charges, just return a bike to any B-cycle station within 90 minutes and then start a new free 90 minute ride)
The grey and red B-cycles are specially designed for all riders – short or tall, thanks to an easy-to-use adjustable seat post. Fenders, skirt guards and chain guards keep clothes clean. Automatic lights help keep riders visible and safe. All bikes are equipped with a lock and basket. Riders can take the bike anywhere and lock it up, even if no kiosk is available.
All are equipped with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and GPS technology, the most advanced bike share system available in the U.S. Annual and weekly members can track their mileage, calories burned and fuel savings through the website www.houston.bcycle.com.
Houston’s program will be managed and operated by Houston Bike Share, a non-profit whose mission is to implement, expand and operate a Houston-based bike share program that will be environmentally friendly, financially sustainable and affordable. Bike Barn will donate maintenance for the B-cycle stations and bikes. The Houston B-cycle program is being funded through the US EPA’s Climate Showcase grant and the expansion will be funded through the US DOE’s ARRA stimulus dollars.
Additional support comes from Bike Houston; Bike Barn; the Downtown District; Houston First; the City of Houston Office of Sustainability and the Houston Parks and Recreation Department.
For more information, memberships and maps, visit www.houston.bcycle.com or call 713-865-3662.