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Health Science Center prepares for bike sharing program
Melissa Wylie / Senior Staff Writer
Nonprofit organization Fort Worth Bike Sharing will construct one of its 30 new bike stations at the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth this spring, offering a discount to student cyclists.
The organization’s launch date is April 22, releasing 300 bicycles for public use around the city of Fort Worth, which will be provided by the bike sharing company B-Cycle.
Construction of the Fort Worth stations will begin the last week of March, said Nicholas Olivier, business development manager at Fort Worth Bike Sharing.
The Health Science Center’s marketing manager Amy Buresh Schnelle coordinated the project and said bike sharing is similar to renting a video.
An individual can check out a bicycle from a station, then check it in at any station near their destination.
The cost of using the bike for 30-60 minutes is $1, and after one hour there are incremental increases, Schnelle said.
Olivier said payment can be made for individual uses or by purchasing monthly or annual memberships.
All students who purchase a membership will also receive a $15 deduction from the $80 price of an annual membership, Olivier said.
The station at the center will be located on the south end of campus, directly west of the Center for BioHealth building and will bring more attention to the site, Schnelle said.
She also said that the other planned locations for the bike stations, such as the cultural district and downtown, will make it easier for tourists to explore the city in a more personal way.
“It makes Fort Worth better not just from a transportation standpoint, but from a health standpoint as well,” Schnelle said.
At each station, there will be space for 22 bicycles and a solar-powered kiosk will house a computerized system for customers to register and pay fees.
Each station is sponsored by a surrounding business, and the center has made a three-year commitment to pay $20,000 annually to cover most of the costs of its station and bikes, Schnelle said.
“There are nine different departments pitching in to cover expenses so no one department is bearing the whole burden,” Schnelle said.
Other station sponsors include Texas Christian University and Fort Worth’s Transportation Authority, The T, and the organization plans reach out to more local companies.
“We do plan to expand, but within Fort Worth,” Olivier said. “We would like to become more dense and expand to areas we have not reached yet, like the Stockyards.”
B-Cycle provides equipment for similar bike sharing organizations in cities throughout the country. San Antonio Bike Share first unveiled its stations in 2011.
“With more than 106,000 miles ridden by more than 6,700 day users, San Antonio is now ranked as the second busiest B-Cycle program in the nation, behind Denver, in overall bike share usage,” according to a news release on the official website of San Antonio.
Membership and donation information can be found at fortworthbikesharing.org.