May 9, 2013

Texas' The T develops bike share program

Texas’ Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T) became the first transit agency in the U.S. to develop a bike share program, as Fort Worth B-Cycle officially rolled out more than 300 bikes and nearly 30 bike stations throughout central Fort Worth.

The program is the first of its kind in North Texas and was launched to the public on Earth Day. It also made Texas the only state with more than two bike share programs. The cities of Houston and San Antonio currently each operate one and Austin is in the process of forming one.

Bike-sharing is a relatively new, environmentally friendly mode of transportation based on the shared use of public bicycles. It was designed to provide residents and visitors a transit-related alternative to driving by filling missing transit links in a daily commute, allowing office workers to hop to lunch and back, and ease excursions inside urban districts, said The T’s President Dick Ruddell.

The bike-sharing initiative in Fort Worth began with a vision in The T’s 2010 long-range strategic plan to provide commuters and visitors with an easy and “green” way to travel short distances around the city and to cover the last mile to and from its transit services. With encouragement from the City of Fort Worth, the transportation authority developed the program with 11 other funding partners.

The T received nearly $1million in grant funding from the Federal Transit Administration in 2012 to purchase the Bike Share Stations, after which the 501c3 Fort Worth Bike Sharing was spun off by The T to manage the program. Four of the organizations nine board members come from The T.

Fort Worth Bike Sharing launched with 300 specially designed Trek bicycles, 30 docking stations, 300 volunteers and more than 100 members signed up by its launch on Earth Day.

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