Expansion plan driven by equity and goal to increase system access
AUSTIN, Texas – The City of Austin has been awarded $11.3 million in federal grant funding to expand and enhance its popular MetroBike bike share program and transition fully to electric bicycles. The grant was awarded by the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) Transportation Alternative Set-Aside (TASA) grant program, which is funded through the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration.
The City of Austin owns the MetroBike bikes and stations, which are operated and maintained by CapMetro through an interlocal agreement. This grant will enable CapMetro to replace and expand the 81 stations and 800 bicycles focused in downtown Austin, tripling the reach and density of the public bike-share system throughout the urban core north and east to US 183 and south to Ben White Boulevard. Equity goals and a priority to expand system access to more Austinites drove the expansion plans the grant will support.
"Thanks to this grant award from TxDOT, Austin will receive a tremendous boost to active mobility," said Richard Mendoza, interim director of the Austin Transportation and Public Works Department. "As our city grows and grapples with the issues of congestion and climate change, this gives Austinites and visitors more options to travel in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way."
The grant will enable MetroBike’s fleet to fully transition to electric-assist bicycles ("ebikes"). Currently, 43% are ebikes and the remainder are traditional bicycles. Ebikes have an electric motor that gives the user greater power and speed when pedaling. The overall size of the fleet will grow, as will the number of docking stations where the ebikes are checked out, returned and charged.
"Investments in our bike share program will better connect our customers to the larger, more comprehensive web of mobility in Austin," said Dottie Watkins, president and CEO at CapMetro. "The enhancements made possible through this grant will offer greater flexibility and access for riders whether it’s their first or last mile and everything in between."
Since its launch, MetroBike has proven to be an extremely popular mode of transportation in Austin, especially among university students. MetroBike usage has steadily grown since 2019, from less than 5,000 to 12,000 trips per month during the pandemic. As the City added ebikes to the fleet, it has reached nearly 28,000 monthly trips as of April 2023. The service also peaks in popularity during major events, reaching 34,000 in the 2021 ACL Festival; 37,000 during 2022 South by Southwest; and 43,000 at the 2022 ACL Festival. Learn more about Metrobike Austin.
About Austin Transportation and Public Works Department
The Transportation and Public Works Department provides safe, reliable and accessible mobility services for all Austinites. Visit AustinTexas.gov/TPW.