Metro’s board of directors voted Thursday to negotiate a contract with a Canadian company to launch Houston’s second bike-share program, but left unclear how – or whether – the two bicycle rental operations might work together to provide a sustainable alternative to automobile transportation.
Metro’s board voted to authorize its staff to negotiate a three-year contract, with options for an additional two years, worth up to $10.5 million with Quebec-based PBSC Urban Solutions to develop and operate a new bike-share program.
Metro officials previously had offered no clear indication whether the agency would work with Houston Bike Share as it rolls out its program, beyond suggesting both operations could exist in some fashion. Thursday was no different.
Houston Bike Share Chairman Neeraj Tandon attended Thursday’s Metro board meeting, and offered his support for Metro’s plan. He also offered BCycle’s existing infrastructure and more than a decade of expertise helping get Metro’s plan off the ground.
“Houston Bike Share wants to phase out as Metro phases in,” Tandon said.
Houston’s chief transportation planner, David Fields, pointed out the two systems had different equipment and software. Still, he said, opportunities exist to use current bike-share infrastructure to build out the future of the service in the city.
“We’re certainly going to work with both systems, especially where connections to transit, which is Metro’s focus, would make the most sense,” FIelds said. Metro currently is working with a consultant to plan how its bike-share system will be rolled out.
BikeHouston Executive Director Joe Cutrufo said he was encouraged by the city council and the Metro board votes, calling the decisions “a clear statement on where Houston is on car-free mobility.”
“In order to make sure the Metro system is a success, there needs to be continuity and bike-share doesn’t go away at any point,” Cutrufo said. “Metro needs to coordinate with and learn from Houston Bike Share and their experience running bike-share for over a decade.”
See here and here for some background. Metro’s program should be up and running by the summer of 2024, and B-Cycle should still be operating by then. We’ll see how or if the two intersect. The Chron, which notes that Metro still has to determine where the kiosks will be, has more.