AUSTIN, Texas - The City of Austin and CapMetro have approved an agreement to co-manage the city-owned BCycle bikeshare program.
According to Austin Transportation, the new agreement will negotiate rebranding the program as MetroBike and could lead to multiple service improvements, such as expanding the fleet and stations, optimizing the first and last mile transit solution, improving services, and reaching communities outside of downtown, and fully electrifying the bikes.
CapMetro says MetroBike will launch in fall 2020.
“This marks a unification of municipal mobility services to deliver more complete trips to our shared customers while also continuing to meet our mutual goals of creating a better mobility system for all,” said Austin Transportation Assistant Director of Smart Mobility Jason JonMichael.
Another benefit of the proposed partnership according to the city will be the ability to provide seamless access to both transit and BCycle systems via Capital Metro’s app, which promotes an eco-friendly first and last mile solution for community members and visitors. Customers can use the CapMetro app to purchase bike passes and can also bundle bike and transit passes.
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“The expansion and electrification of the bikeshare system perfectly complements our expanding transit system and the growing bicycling infrastructure all across the city," said Chad Ballentine, CapMetro VP of Demand Response. "Bicycle ridership is up significantly across the nation, and now is the perfect time for Capital Metro and the City of Austin to make this move.”
The city says this collaboration between Austin Transportation, Capital Metro, and Bike Share of Austin, the local nonprofit which operates BCycle Austin, is poised to lead to significant growth that will help manage congestion and provide better transit options for all community members and visitors.
Bike riding has increased under COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders throughout the nation, says the city, and e-bikes have been used 3 to 4.5 times more frequently than pedal bikes. There are currently 200 e-bikes in Austin on loan from BCycle/Trek as a pilot project demonstrating increased use when e-bikes are available to riders.