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cloud713

B-Cycle expansion and improvements are on the way!

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I'm surprised no one has mentioned this yet. I saw on Facebook the other day that Houstons b-cycle program will triple in size.

http://m.chron.com/news/transportation/article/Bike-program-poised-for-major-expansion-6525416.php

Supporters of Houston's popular bike-sharing program are planning a major expansion with $4.7 million in new federal money.

Funds expected to be allocated by the Houston-Galveston Area Council's Transportation Policy Council on Friday will enable the Houston B-Cycle system to more than triple in size, director Will Rub said. It now has 29 stations and 200 bikes. The goal is to grow to 100 stations with 800 bikes, Rub said..

The money, along with a 21 percent commitment from B-Cycle, will add stations in the Texas Medical Center and Rice Village in one phase, increase the concentration of stations in the downtown and Midtown areas in another, before expanding east and southeast to EaDo and the University of Houston and Texas Southern University area.

Edited by cloud713

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Those bikes are wildly popular in Hermann Park. Where's the nearest station? The closest one I can think of is near the Montrose Public Library.

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Those bikes are wildly popular in Hermann Park. Where's the nearest station? The closest one I can think of is near the Montrose Public Library.

According to the b-cycle website, there is a station inside the park.

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The More You Know!

 

Thanks. Never knew there was one near the MFA but that makes so much sense and I am worried that I am very unobservant because I ride my trike through Hermann Park several times a week and have never noticed the station but do see riders all the time.

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B-Cycle nearly hits 100,00 riders in 2015

 

Houston’s growing bike sharing system – poised for a big 2016 – nearly pulled off 100,000 checkouts last year.

 

After adding two stations in the last weeks of the year, bringing the total to 31 kiosks and 190 bicycles, Houston B-Cycle logged 98,388 uses, according to organizers of the system. People can check out a bike with a pass – daily, weekly or annual – and use the bike without charge for 60 minutes. After that, the bike costs $4 per hour.

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I rode B-Cycle for the first time here in Houston, and it was pretty fun! It's a few bucks cheaper than Austin's B-cycle for 24-hours (I have not yet tried it out there). My only remark is that I find it a bit silly that you have to "check-in" every 60 mins? Got the 24-hour pass and only used it for 3-hours or so, but every hour we had to go to a station and place them back on the rack and check them out again. Luckily there was multiple stations on our route so it really wasn't an inconvenience. I guess they figured that someone may take them home for 24-hours. Nearly every station was empty!

 

Also, quite a few drivers were driving into the bike lane turning from Austin St. onto Lamar near the Four Seasons!

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As I understand it, you don't have to check in and out every 60 minutes, but they will charge $4 an hour after 60 minutes.  I think the concept wasn't so much having people check them out for hours at a time to just ride around but to check one out to go from point a to point b, check it in and do whatever and then check another one out for the next leg (or return leg) of your trip.

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Yeah, I thought the "60-minute check in" requirement was just if you'd like to ride for "free" (minus the original rental fee), otherwise pay for each additional hour if you'd like to keep it longer.

I still need to get a pass and try it out one weekend

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I rode B-Cycle for the first time here in Houston, and it was pretty fun! It's a few bucks cheaper than Austin's B-cycle for 24-hours (I have not yet tried it out there). My only remark is that I find it a bit silly that you have to "check-in" every 60 mins? Got the 24-hour pass and only used it for 3-hours or so, but every hour we had to go to a station and place them back on the rack and check them out again. Luckily there was multiple stations on our route so it really wasn't an inconvenience. I guess they figured that someone may take them home for 24-hours. Nearly every station was empty!

Also, quite a few drivers were driving into the bike lane turning from Austin St. onto Lamar near the Four Seasons!

Maybe they should install a pole in the middle of the bike lane/on the stripe separating each side of bike traffic, at each intersection, so it's a wide enough space for bikes to easily travel by on either side, but too narrow/an obvious obstacle preventing vehicles from entering the lane?

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I hope that b-cycle succeeds. I think that recall that b-cycle needed a subsidy from the city to stay alfoat while they were building the business. Anyone know if they still have it? I wonder if the new administration will support this subsidy too?

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I believe Houston's bike-sharing program is one of the, if not the number 1, most successful/profitable of the cities that have a program.

That may be true, I don't know.

B-cycle continues to need government subsidies though. In the short term, that is fine, in the longer term, it will need to be able to make a profit and generate sufficient cash flow for capital replacement and expansion. Hopefully they have a business model that accomplishes this over the next few years.

The good news is that they seemingly have the needed, short term expansion money locked in.

http://blog.chron.com/thehighwayman/2015/09/bike-sharing-program-poised-for-major-expansion/

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Isn't all the money we spend on roads a subsidy for cars and trucks?

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It also is infrastructure for bikes and buses but yeah I suspect if there were only bikes and buses the road costs would be less so it could be seen as a huge subsidy 

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most of the time I see people not using it to commute, but to enjoy. so they did get their model wrong. maybe they still want people to use it to commute, and the 1hr check-in is what will encourage this? I don't know.

 

I'm most hopeful that this program does more than just be profitable, I hope it encourages people to buy their own bikes (even if just walmart specials) to enjoy life.

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Using it to commute is largely dependent on increasing the number of stations. Right now stations are located primarily at destinations; they need to also be easily accessible in comparatively residential areas, even just within midtown, Montrose, etc, but the big obvious one is the entirety of the Heights. 

 

Even 100 stations will be too low to reach most people who could otherwise take advantage of Bcycle for commuting purposes. Compare 100 stations to the number of stations in the DC area, New York, or even Minneapolis.

 

WITH THAT BEING SAID, getting the total up to around 100, if carefully targeted, will make a huge difference. I'd like to see them keep the range pretty low to maximize station density, but we'll see.

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I've always had the impression that the prime target isn't commuting as much as augmenting the metro system to help with last-mile type situations.  And/or to allow easy errand running by folks in the central core.  That being said, I seem to see the most b cycles in and around Hermann park in obviously leisure use.

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B-cycle is set to triple in size over the next 2 years, adding 71 stations with 568 bikes. 

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They are expanding cause it's working. I see so many people riding them. For recreation, or for a quick trip. I'll grant that I mostly see them being used for recreating, but that's cause it's where I usually am to see them. On a BBP trail, or in Hermann park, people usually don't ride through these places on their way to the grocery store for a loaf of bread.

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Are the 71 new stations on a map anywhere?  The only map I can find is the one where they were trying to solicit input for potential locations

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Why not both?

 

I actually think it's useful to think of bikeshare as somewhat distinct from having your own bike, though they both benefit from the same infrastructure.

 

Bikeshare, at least when it's fully built-out, has one big advantage: no planning ahead is required. You just hop on, drop it off, and never worry about that particular bike being messed with or stolen, or where to lock it up, or having it with you whenever you need it. It's really not a replacement for owning your own bike; it's another option for short to medium distance trips (like Uber, bus, light rail, or potentially even walking) that you can take advantage of without having to plan ahead. And yes, it can also integrate incredibly well with longer-distance transit. Maybe you take park-and-ride in from somewhere in the greater suburban hellscape,  but the bus drops you off a mile from your office. You jump on a BCycle and you're there in no time.

 

Again, this is all predicated on there being enough station density that you never have to wonder where the nearest station is or worry that there won't be a station close enough to your destination, but, assuming that level of density, bikeshare can be incredibly convenient. 

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I have found them to be more trouble than they're worth. If you're with a few people and you're only making one short trip, uber is a much better alternative. It costs $5 for each bike, or you an do an uber, with a minimum charge of about $6. I rented one a while back to take up to the art car parade. We spent more time trying to find a check in station so we wouldnt get charged extra than we did watching the parade. 

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3 hours ago, terra002 said:

I have found them to be more trouble than they're worth. If you're with a few people and you're only making one short trip, uber is a much better alternative. It costs $5 for each bike, or you an do an uber, with a minimum charge of about $6. I rented one a while back to take up to the art car parade. We spent more time trying to find a check in station so we wouldnt get charged extra than we did watching the parade. 

 

$65 for an annual membership, unlimited checkouts for free (while still following the time rules).

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Yeah, the annual membership makes a huge difference, and, again, it's hard to get a feel for what these systems are really like from the Houston BCycle system as it exists now. There just aren't nearly enough stations for it to be terribly convenient. 

Edited by Texasota

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On 10/30/2016 at 7:14 PM, hindesky said:

 

Owning a bike or two is good, but you have to plan ahead to take it with you.  Having bike share stations that can help you go the last mile using public transit is a plus.

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I'm trying to purchase a one-month Houston membership online, but can't seem to do so.

 

When I try to log into Houston's system, it tells me to log into Fort Worth's system instead (where I purchased a previous membership). The problem is, I can't purchase a Houston membership there.

 

When I try to create a new account on Houston's site, it won't let me because I already have a B-cycle account.

 

What gives?

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I'm sure they have a feedback or questions section of the site, but I'd venture to guess that what might be happening is that if you have a b-cycle account it's good anywhere that b-cycle works?

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Apparently, when you create an account, it's only good for one city. If you want to purchase a membership in a different city, you have to create a new account with a different email address (though there's a little work-around to that).

 

My previous 24-hour Fort Worth memberships have long since expired, so the above link doesn't apply to me.

------------------------------

 

Anyway, I rode B-Cycles around Buffalo Bayou Park this morning. It's a very nice park!

 

I'll be sure to try it again this December when it's much cooler outside. :o

Edited by PeopleAreStrange

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I'm sure it will be much less hot, I don't know if it will be much cooler ;)

 

There is a new b-cycle station at Cullen north of 45 at the new apartments intended for UH students.

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Indeed. It's really starting to fill out as a system usable for everyday purposes.

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