“Bike share” has become one of 2013’s buzz phrases, and now Austin is getting in on the action. Austin B-Cycle launches today with 110 bikes and 11 stations around downtown. The stations will be open 24 hours a day, and aspiring cyclists can get day passes for $8, weekly passes for $25, or an annual membership for $80.
By March 1, 2014, more stations and bikes should be online at points around the city, including the University of Texas campus, Riverside Drive, East Austin and Zilker Park.
Transit and bike advocates hope that bike sharing in Austin will lead to reduced car trips in the center of the city, and help pave the way for a greater mix of transportation modes in a city that’s gaining notoriety for its congestion. One of B-Cycle’s biggest cheerleaders, Matt Curtis, Director of Government Relations for HomeAway, has been making bike share videos in the leadup to B-Cycle’s launch.
U.S. cities that have implemented bike share systems have seen huge public interest. Bike advocates estimate that bike sharing has had a good impact on local economies too – New York City’s Citibike directly created 200 new jobs.
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