After enjoying three years of success, the city's bike sharing program — Houston B-Cycle — is getting a big boost from the federal government, one that will enable the program to become the largest bike share program in Texas and the southwest.
B-Cycle was recently approved by the Houston-Galveston Area Council Transportation Policy Council for $3.48 million from the Transportation Improvement Program to expand the city's bike sharing program. The funds will allow Houston B-Cycle to triple in size over the next 18 to 24 months, expanding from 29 stations and 210 bikes to 100 stations and nearly 800 bikes.
Houston B-Cycle stations will stretch from south of the Texas Medical Center to the north up into the Heights and from the west to Memorial Park to the Greater East End.
"Bike Share is an extremely successful and sustainable transportation initiative, and with the support of our regional and federal partners, we are able to expand the system into a large and thriving bike network, providing a real commuter and recreational transportation option for workers, residents and visitors while also improving health and quality of life," Mayor Annise Parker said in a statement.
The expansion will be divided into three phases, and the initial phase will add stations to the Texas Medical Center, Rice University and Rice Village areas.
The second phase will focus on creating greater station density, primarily in the Museum District, Midtown, Montrose and Downtown, and the third phase will broaden the program's footprint into the East Side and around Texas Southern University and University of Houston Main campus, as well as up into the Heights and west of Downtown.
Houston B-Cycle is a bike share program that provides a quick transportation alternative for getting around the city. With a base "membership fee'"of $5 daily, bikes can be checked out from stations for free for the first 60 minutes and riders are charged $2 for each subsequent half-hour.
To date, Houston’s bike share program has logged 205,000 checkouts, seen over 1 million miles ridden and created almost 1 million pounds of carbon offset.