The Metro board approved a six-to-nine month transition period where operations now overseen by the nonprofit Houston Bike Share will move into the transit agency. Officials said rolling the bike borrowing system into the transit made sense both to address linking people with available transit and shift bike sharing to more areas of the city.
“It is just impossible for the bus service and light rail on its own to operate and provide total coverage,” said Kristina Ronneberg, policy and advocacy director for BikeHouston, which encourages improved cycling access in the city.
Ronneberg called merging transit and cycling planning a “natural fit” to leverage not only increased bike lane building in Houston, but also add bike sharing in neighborhoods where people are interested in avoiding car trips.
“These two services need to be coordinated and seamless,” she said.
In a letter of support, Harris County Precinct One Commissioner Rodney Ellis agreed, noting the investment bike sharing made in areas around Texas Southern University, Houston Community College and University of Houston.
“Houston BCycle offers a unique opportunity for Metro to expand access to public transit service in both urban and suburban areas with access to safe bicycle infrastructure,” Ellis wrote.
Though the board only approved a temporary transition, and $500,000 to allow bike sharing to continue to operate about half of the BCycle system, the intent is for Metro to keep operations going past 2023, CEO Tom Lambert said.
See here for the background. I don’t know what specific plans Metro has in mind, but as noted before integrating B-Cycle more into the transit system, with the goal of making various stops and stations easily accessible to more people, is and should be the priority. I look forward to seeing a report in nine months or so to see how it’s going and hope that it is viable for the long term. Here’s a letter from the B-Cycle board chair explaining their actions, and Houston Public Media has more.