The Fort Worth Transportation Authority said Monday it’s raised more than $1 million, and plans to launch a central city bike-sharing program by next Spring that will include 30 stations and 300 bikes.
The program will start by April, Dick Ruddell, president of The T, said Monday. Stations will be between the Hospital District and TCU on the South Side and the Stockyards on the north, and the West 7th corridor on the west and Texas Wesleyan University to the east.
The heavy-duty three-speed bikes will come with locks, lights, baskets, and GPS devices that the T can use to track the locations of each bike. Users will be able to use credit cards or program membership cards to check bikes at out from kiosks at each station, and to check them back in. Rent rates will be based on time, and haven’t been determined yet.
Ruddell said there’s potential to expand the program beyond the initial numbers of stations, “but that’s certainly enough to get us started.”
“It’s the last mile of connectivity,” said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, who joined Ruddell Monday in announcing the bike share program and another one the city announced to put down bright green-painted bike lanes at intersections and other heavily trafficked places where cars and bike paths meet.
The T has received a $940,000 Federal Transit Administration grant and sponsors have chipped in another $260,000 for the bike share program, Ruddell said.
Sponsors so far are Fort Worth South, the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau, Downtown Fort Worth Inc., TCU, and Harris Methodist Fort Worth.
The T is making sponsorship opportunities available on the bikes and at the stations, Ruddell said.
The nonprofit Fort Worth Bike Sharing will operate the program with an outside vendor, and requests for proposals will be going out soon, Ruddell said.
The vendor will be responsible for monitoring the locations of the bikes, and moving them around among stations to ensure availabliity. Users will be able to check bikes back in at stations other than the ones where they rented them, at no extra cost. Maintenance and replacement of bikes may also be the responsibility of the vendor, Ruddell said.
Mike Brennan, planning and development director for Fort Worth South, said there will likely be an initial small fee of a few dollars to rent a bike. The first few hours after that would be at no additional cost, and then a rate for additional time would kick in.
“If you want to keep the bike for the whole day, you’ll be better off renting” from a local bike shop, he said. “The goal would be that (the program) pays for itself,” in terms of covering operating costs, Ruddell said.
Public transit users, workers who want to go out to lunch, and tourists are among key potential users of the program, Brennan said.
Station locations haven’t been set yet, but are likely at major transit centers such as the Intermodal Transportation Center and T&P Terminal downtown, and in or near the major hospital campuses to start with, he said.
Other cities that have launched bike-share programs include Minneapolis, Denver, Boston, Washington, D.C., San Antonio, and Houston.