Austin, TX and CapMetro – Austin’s public transport agency – are partnering to operate the city’s bike-share program – renaming it as MetroBike. The move, which will go live this fall, is part of Capital Metro’ transition from a transit provider to a “mobility” service. The new agreement will set up a partnership between the city, Austin BCycle and CapMetro. The nonprofit Austin BCycle has been operating the bike-share system since 2013, which currently includes about 500 standard bikes and 200 e-bikes.
“We really wanted the community to start seeing the bike-share program in Austin as just another offering of the transit agency,” said Chad Ballentine, vice president for Demand Response and Innovative Mobility at CapMetro.
CapMetro is seeking to become a more direct participant in the micro-mobility arena by expanding its service abilities beyond fixed-route bus and rail service.
“We wanted to look beyond just where the transit goes. We want to look at mobility,” said Ballentine. “It allows us to expand our service area and our reach. And also, partnership with the city is vital.”
The eventual goal is a more integrated transportation ecosystem, where users of bikes, scooters, car-share and public transport can be incorporated into one trip-planning and payment platform.
“We just finished rolling out the ability to trip-plan from a house, to a bike, to a bus, back to a bike and to your final destination,” said Ballentine. “We know there’s a symbiotic relationship between a bike and a bus, and we really wanted to get to that, and think that will be a really cool product for us.”