The expansion is a few months behind schedule, said Laura Spanjian, Houston’s sustainability director. She said federal reviews required under the $116,000 grant to start the bike-sharing program, and state historic preservation approvals for the locations, have proceeded more slowly than expected. The program, run by a nonprofit, Houston Bike Share, also is waiting to secure city permits for the installations.
Despite the delay, supporters plan to offer 175 bicycles at 23 locations by mid-2013, said Will Rub, director of Houston Bike Share. By then the program should annually generate more than 25,000 checkouts and have more than 15,000 members, Rub said.
So far, with 18 bikes at the three downtown stations, 1,200 people have checked out a bike for around 2,000 uses, Rub said.
Compared to cities with more robust programs, the numbers are small. But organizers said they are pleased with what three downtown stations have generated.
“You really have got to have the activity of multiple locations to inspire people to use it as part of their commute,” Rub said.
The 2013 expansion of the system will tie it to more transit stops and to destinations outside downtown such as Midtown, Montrose and spots east of downtown, particularly around the BBVA Compass Stadium and growing entertainment area.
Spanjian said she hoped future expansions of the system would include stations in the Texas Medical Center and on the campuses of local colleges. “They all want stations,” she said. “And we’d like to give them to them.”
So there you have it. Just remember, you read most of it here first.