First phase of Bike Share System planned for launch later this year.
Contact:Shannon Wisner, Public Information, Public Works Department, (512) 974-7704 Craig Staley, Director, Bike Share of Austin, (512) 657-0053
On June 20, City Council approved a contract with the company B-cycle to purchase the equipment needed to operate a bike share system in Austin. Included in this purchase will be approximately 400 bicycles, 600 docks, 40 kiosks, and other miscellaneous accessories including the hardware and software to operate the system.
B-cycle has successfully implemented 17 bike share systems in the U.S. including San Antonio, Houston, Fort Worth, Denver, Madison, Salt Lake City, Nashville, Charlotte and Honolulu. The bicycles are custom made to order, fit a wide range of users, and are installed with a self-charging global positioning system (GPS) for tracking purposes. They also come with a built-in kryptonite cable lock.
The bicycles will be equipped with always-on front and rear lights for safety purposes. Each bike’s GPS computer works with the software to show user metrics; including miles ridden, number of trips, carbon offset, calories burned, mapping of routes taken, most popular stations used, ability to share ride mapping, and other related membership account data. The docking stations and kiosks will be a combination of solar, A/C, and battery powered.
A Map Module will be located at each of the 40 kiosk locations and will display a map of the system and safety information. Kiosks will cover the basic functions of registration with a credit card and have an English/Spanish touch screen for ease of use. B-cycle is also working on the capability to add up to six different languages at both kiosks and the website.
The system comes with free Apple and Android mobile applications to allow riders to locate docks and bikes, and has an outbound system to generate text alerts to riders when bikes are overdue.
Bike Share of Austin, the City’s managing partner, will maintain the bikes; move them around to stations each day, handle marketing and secure station sponsorships. “I believe bike sharing is the single best addition we can make to augment Austin’s existing transit system. Nothing else is as inexpensive and quick to implement,” says Craig Staley, Director of Bike Share of Austin.
The City is in the process of identifying the specific locations of the kiosk stations, which will be on average two or three blocks apart. The stations will be located in close proximity to local attractions, transit stations and other popular destinations. The City aims to have the bike share program operable by late 2013.
Initially, the focus of service will be the downtown area and its immediate environs. As the program rolls out in subsequent phases, service could expand to other parts of town. In the initial launch slated for later this year, the first ten stations with approximately one hundred bicycles will be in operation. The remaining stations will follow by Spring 2014. Bike Share Project Coordinator, Adrian Lipscombe states, “Bike Share helps users complete those ‘first and last mile’ connections to where they need to go. We’re very excited about bringing this transportation option to Austin.”
In July, the Public Works Department will release an online location-suggesting tool that will enable citizens to choose where they would like a kiosk to be located, and vote for already chosen locations. During this timeframe, the department will also conduct outreach meetings to gather citizen input. Future updates and information on Austin’s bike share system will be posted at www.austintexas.gov/bikeshare.
Communications and Public Information Office
301 W. 2nd Street, Austin, TX 78701