If Capital Metro and the city of Austin can come to an agreement this summer, the city’s BCycle program would become a Capital Metro service. The city-owned bikeshare program would be rebranded as “Metro Bike” under the new agreement, according to Chad Ballentine, Cap Metro’s Vice President of demand response and innovative mobility.
Bike Share of Austin, the nonprofit that operates BCycle, would continue in that role under the new agreement, according to Ballentine.
“The Metro Bike partnership with the City of Austin is a big deal, I’m excited about it. It’s more than rebranding of the existing program, it really goes to creating a highly visible program that makes a big change for how people travel around our community,” Ballentine told the Cap Metro board of directors May 22.
The BCycle program has been around in Austin since 2013. According to Ballentine, the city owns 500 standard bikes and has 200 e-bikes on loan from a private company. The docking stations are located around downtown and East Austin—and in February 2019, a program launched at The Domain.
In May, Ballentine said, 66% of rides on BCycles were on electric bikes, despite those representing less than 30% of the fleet. Cap Metro is in the process of applying for a federal grant that would fully electrify the BCycle fleet, but Ballentine said the transit agency is not relying on the grant to start the partnership between Cap Metro and the city.
Austin City Council Member Ann Kitchen, who is also a member of the board of the directors, said she is excited about the opportunity the program will bring to more areas of the city.
“If you don’t live in the core, you don’t have access to this [BCycle] program. So expanding it along our transit lines that go deeper out into the community is just going to be a huge plus,” Kitchen said.
Ballentine said Cap Metro plans to come back to the board of directors to finalize an interlocal agreement with the city this summer, and the new program could be introduced this fall.
Editor's Note: The image in this story has been updated to show an Austin BCycle station. The original image showed Domain BCycles.