The Brownsville City Commission has approved a two-year interlocal cooperation contract with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley for a community bike share program.
Bike Share Rio Grande Valley, which launches today, will help community members reach their destination by checking out bikes through the online website called Zagster, which is used by multiple universities such as UT Dallas as well as communities across the nation.
“So, you would pay a certain amount, it would not be more than $40 for a year, and you’d be able to rent a bike using an app or a computer and it’ll charge your card. But, if you already have a membership for the year, then you can go use the bike for an hour and as long as you return it within the hour you won’t get an additional cost,” said Eva Garcia, a planner for the City of Brownsville’s Planning Department. “Let’s say you parked at the library and you need to take a bike to come to City Plaza to pay for a parking ticket or you wanted to come eat at Lola’s, then you can park at Rotary Park and, ideally, there’s a bike share station near your destination.”
The city will place six stations with five bikes in each throughout downtown: La Plaza Terminal, Market Square, Linear Park, Cameron County Courthouse, Dean Porter Park and the Belden Trail.
“I think it will be great for students to just have more transportation options to get around campus and then to get beyond campus, too,” said Rodney Gomez, UTRGV’s director of Parking and Transportation. “Like, if you want to go off campus to go to a restaurant or whatever, you can always check out a bike, and instead of walking in the hot sun, you can bike. So, we see it as an important part of the transportation options for students.”
The bike share program will cost the university $153,900 for the initial two years. This will include the “cost of access to the bicycles, the stations, the technology (smart phone app), marketing materials, damage and theft protection, and all bicycle maintenance and repairs,” Gomez wrote in an email to The Rider.
The funding will come from a special university account and not student fees, he said.
UTRGV will place three stations and 15 bikes on the Brownsville campus, four stations and 20 bikes on the Edinburg campus and one station with 10 bikes on the Harlingen campus.
The City of Harlingen also approved a partnership and will host one station with 10 bikes at McKelvey Park, Gomez said. Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez said it was great that the city was cooperating with the university for the bike share program.
“I’m a big proponent of trying to be as cooperative with the university as possible and also a quid pro quo in the sense that, you know, we have to be part of each other,” Martinez said after the Aug. 16 city commission meeting.
Checking out a bike costs $2 per hour. The cost of the monthly pass is $15 and $35 for the annual pass. The first hour is free with all passes.
To check out a bike, download the Zagster app or visit zagster.com/rgvbikeshare.