San Antonio became the first city in Texas to install a bike-share system last month, when it opened 14 B-cycle stations within a few miles of downtown.
Now Austin is considering spending about $1.8 million, plus operating costs of about $225,000 per year, to put in a similar system.
It would start with 30 stations and 300 bikes but could eventually expand to 70 stations with 700 bikes, said Annick Beaudet, head of the city’s Bicycle Program.
The city would apply for grant money to help cover costs. If Austin officials find a business model that will work, a bike-share system could be up and running within two years. Officials would work to make memberships, grants and possibly advertising sustain it.
You can read more about the San Antonio bike share program and about Houston’s efforts to set up a program of its own here. This story has a good overview of how this has worked in other American cities, including San Antonio, where it appears to be off to a good start. I wish Austin the best of luck in getting this going. On a related note, see Matt Yglesias and these two DCist posts for info on how bike sharing is working in the District of Columbia.