Carter Stern, Executive Director of Houston Bike Share
| Mar 29,2017
Houston BCycle is on a roll! Houstonians took 113,252 trips on our bikes last year and 2017 is shaping up to be our best year ever. Our expansion is underway, beginning with the Crawford Island station in January, and we look forward to adding stations at Dunlavy & Allen Parkway, Main & Wichita, Guadalupe Park, and Woodland Park this April. Over the next 18 months, we plan to add 71 new stations and 650 bikes, more than tripling the size of our network.
Our Price Structure and Hours are Changing
But in the words of Steve Jobs, “there’s one more thing.” Beginning April 1, 2017, we are changing our pricing structure for the first time ever. Riders will be able to choose a per-trip option at the kiosk, as well as monthly and annual memberships through our website and mobile app.
The per-trip option at the kiosk will cost $3 per 30 minutes. Period.
Memberships will cost $9 per month or $99 per year. Both memberships will entitle the riders to free, unlimited 60 minute trips. Member trips lasting longer than 60 minutes will accrue usage fees of $3 per 30 minutes.
Last but certainly not least, BCycle kiosks will now be open 24 hours a day.
Now is the Time to Make a Change
Our current membership structure is no longer adequate to meets the needs of our users or our aspirations for the system as we invest $4 million over the next 18 months and add 71 stations and at least 650 bikes. With more stations in more places, plus 24-hour service, the program will be infinitely more useful to all our riders.
These changes are not made lightly. Over the last 18 months, we have wrestled with what price structure will best serve our riders. We considered feedback from current users, weighed these considerations with our desire to make bike share available to a broader audience, and looked to the future of BCycle’s physical footprint in Houston. We learned that many riders found our current pricing structure to be confusing, and wanted a cheaper option for short trips. We also learned that some users wanted a membership that allowed them to pay monthly instead of paying for an entire year upfront.
Per-trip pricing brings the cost of a short BCycle trip down to just $3; cheaper than an Uber fare and competitive with the cost of transit. As we continue to add new stations around the City, point-to-point trips will increase and per-trip pricing will facilitate this use. Best of all, this pricing option is easy for new users to understand and makes it very inexpensive to test out BCycle and see what it’s all about.
The monthly membership was crafted to meet the needs of two users: (1) riders who are not ready to purchase an annual pass but plan on taking more than three 30 minute trips a month, and (2) riders who are unable to afford the upfront cost of an annual membership, but need consistent access to our bikes. For less than double the cost for our current 24-hour membership, roughly $.29 per day, monthly members will be able to take free, unlimited 60 minute trips all month long.
Finally, our annual membership will cost $99. This increase places the cost of our annual membership in line with the cost in other markets and, at $.27 per day, our annual membership and the unlimited 60 minute trips it buys the holder is a heck of a deal.
I’m a Current Annual Member, How Does the Change Affect Me?
If you’re currently an annual member, usage fees on your trips lasting longer than 60 minutes will accrue at the rate of $3 per 30 minutes. When you renew your annual membership, the price will be $99.
We Want to Hear from You!
We know that many of you are familiar with our old pricing and may have questions or comments. Let me be very clear - we welcome ALL of your feedback. Good, bad, or indifferent, we want to hear it. At the end of the day, the BCycle program exists to serve all Houstonians and your feedback is critical to our goal of delivering a bike share program worthy of this terrific city and our riders.
Bike share has always been about changing the way people navigate their communities and interact with each other. The industry is young, and operators around the country are constantly experimenting, trying to make bike share more useful and accessible to everyone. Houston Bike Share is no different – every day we tinker, refine and experiment in the hope that we can make the Houston BCycle program more useful, accessible and enjoyable to all Houstonians. Contact us at houston.bcycle.com/contact.
Houston Bike Share