It has been a long time coming, but the the first 11 bike share locations in Austin, opening next month, were announced last week.
As expected the bike locations are all located in and around downtown, with nothing north of 11th St.
B-Cycle, the bike provider, has launched an official website — austin.bcycle.com — touting the official launch as Dec. 21. The website also has an interactive Google-hybrid map of the bike share locations.
I have no bone to pick with any of the install choices, but do lament that they will not have kiosks planned in the initial phase at parking-challenged Barton Springs Pool and the Rainey Street District. (*cough* Put one at the MACC. *cough*).
The website says that the entire 40 station system, which is still in the planning stage, will be completely online and available for bike check out by March 1, 2014. In the near term, buildings with the closest access to the bike kiosks are the Spring Condos, W Hotel Residences, 5 Fifty Five, and the Plaza Lofts.
Austin B-cycle provides access to network of on-demand bike stations at a daily, weekly, and annual memberships. There is never a charge for the first 30 minutes of any checkout, which based on the map means that you could easily get across downtown for free (after paying a membership fee.) Usage fees only apply after 30 minutes each check out, at $4/half hour ($75 daily maximum usage fees.)
Austin B-cycle also participates in the B-connected program, which allows you to access B-cycle fleets in most other B-cycle cities, including all the other B-cycle programs in Texas as well as Denver, Boulder, and elsewhere.
This is exciting news and I hope they are truly ready by the launch date. Interestingly enough, I can’t find any site plans, permits or paperwork relating to the installation of the bike share kiosks.
In my limited experience and knowledge of downtown construction and street projects, it would be pretty remarkable for them to just plop down the stations overnight with there being some permit trail. But then again, this is a City-funded project, and I am sure that if there is a will there is a way.
Half hourly rate seems a bit much if you are not parking the bike at a station on arrival. If I wanted to go out for lunch and keep the bike the whole time, a round trip would cost me $12 (one hour lunch plus 20-30 minutes logistics each way). Definitely a once-in-a-while, when-the-weathers-nice thing right now, at least until they get more stations.
Lance Hunter says
Interesting. There are two on South Congress only two blocks from each other. Then again, there’s a huge elevation difference between those two spots. (Part of the evil South Congress hill that antagonizes so many Austin cyclists.) It’ll be a nice way to grab one of the bikes and hop downtown real quick (maybe bike to Whole Foods, get some groceries, then pick up one of the many Car2Gos that are always in their parking lot to drive them back home.)
I’m a bit disappointed that there isn’t anything East of 35 so far. Everything from 6th Street to Lady Bird Last, from 35 to Pleasant Valley, is ideal biking territory (flat, manageable traffic, lots of good stops). The Austin population seems to be ahead of Austin infrastructure in terms of realizing how important and useful East-West traffic is.