Austin gears up for bike share system


Austin’s bike share system will have folks rolling around downtown by the end of the year, after the city approved contracts Thursday.

Austin City Council approved $150,000 in a partnership with Bike Share of Austin as a managing partner and system operator, as well as an equipment contract with vendor B-Cycle. Finalizing contract details could take up to 30 days from now.

B-Cycle has implemented bike share in 17 cities through the country, including San Antonio, Houston and Fort Worth.

The company will provide the city with 400 bicycles, 600 docking stations and 40 kiosks. The stations will have mapping systems to help riders navigate the city, and the operating functions will be available in English and Spanish. The system’s Apple and Android mobile apps will provide dock and bike locations and give overdue notices to riders.

Shannon Wisner, a Public Works spokeswoman, said the city plans to implement 10 stations and 100 bicycles by the end of the year. An additional 30 stations with 300 more bikes will be implemented in the spring of 2014.

Though the program targets the downtown area, the city will places the kiosks in part based on resident input through an online location-suggesting tool, to identify prospective locations and vote on them as well. The city will also host meetings to hear location suggestions from the public in July and August.

New York City implemented a similar bike share May 27. The bike share in New York includes 6,000 bikes and has already gathered 40,000 members.

Follow Christine Ayala on twitter @christine_ayala.