The Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T) has become the first transit agency in the United States 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, April 22, 2013. 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, such as Fort Worth’s West Seventh Street and the Near South Side / Magnolia Avenue, 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.
Each heavy-duty, three-speed bike features low-slung center bars, a basket on the handlebars, easily adjustable ride heights, and comes stocked with locks, lights, baskets, and GPS devices that are used to track their locations. Users are able to use credit cards or program membership cards to “check-in” and “check-out” bikes from kiosks at each docking station. Rental rates are $8 per 24 hours, payable by credit card. Memberships are also available: $80 for one year, $20 for seven days and $30 for 30 days. All rates allow unlimited 30-minute rides without additional charges. For those wanting to keep it longer, costs are $1.50 for the second half-hour and $3 for each half-hour after that.
“I want to thank our city, the support of the Fort Worth bicycling community, Fort Worth Bike Sharing’s founding partners, and the Federal Transit Administration for making it possible to convert an idea in The T’s long-range strategic plan into a program with 300 bicycles and 28 stations,” said Dick Ruddell, president of The T. “This program will no doubt enhance even further the great quality of life in Fort Worth.”