Transportation

Houston’s Bike Share Says Ridership Is Breaking Records

BCycle said it had its best year ever in 2019 as it added stations and brought on new riders.

Houston BCycle had a 50% jump in ridership from last year, according to BCycle's Henry Morris. That adds up to over 233,000 trips in 2019.

In terms of trends, Morris said riders are using the bikes to make short, one-way trips in dense parts of town, including college campuses like the University of Houston-Downtown and Rice University. They're also seeing short-duration trips in the Texas Medical Center.

Morris said people use the bikes to replace either a long walk or a short car ride.

"What we're also seeing is trips from neighborhood to neighborhood and trips that connect to METRO," said Morris. "But the absolute biggest leap is in these sort of dense clusters of stations where bike share is a truly convenient and perhaps the most convenient way for people to get around."

Morris said they're also seeing lots of recreational rides in places like Buffalo Bayou Park and Hermann Park.

"It would be prudent to continue expanding with stations near where we already have stations," said Morris. "And that's just sort of a best practice we can see across the country with bike share, is that density breeds usage."

There have also been requests to expand the system outside the 610 Loop. Morris said to do that, they'll need to find community partners to help them create dense "mini-networks." He said another option is to expand networks of stations that are already close to 610, like the ones near the South Loop in the Med Center.

As for what's in BCycle's immediate future, Morris said they've been working to install seven new stations. That will bring their total number of bike share kiosks to 109.

In 2020 they plan to build another 21 stations with the help of a federal air quality grant. That grant covers 80% of the equipment costs. Local partners cover the other 20% along with construction costs.

Morris said they also want to expand the GO Pass program that offers discounted memberships for low-income riders. Those passes are available in the Third Ward right now through a pilot program.

Another goal is to add more electric bikes to the BCycle fleet. They added five electric bikes to the system about six months ago and they're hoping to secure funding to add more.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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