Austin's MetroBike program will receive $11.3 million in federal grant money to to expand and enhance its bike share program.
The grant comes from the Texas Department of Transportation’s Transportation Alternative Set-Aside program, which is funded through federal highway and transit administrations.
Regional transit agency CapMetro, which operates and maintains the program's city-owned facilities and bicycles, will put the money toward replacing and expanding beyond its the 81 stations and 800 bikes in the downtown Austin area. CapMetro plans to triple the reach and density of the public bike-share system north and east to U.S. Highway 183 and south to Ben White Boulevard.
The grant will also enable Austin MetroBike, which was originally named Austin B-Cycle and rebranded in 2012, fully transition to electric-assist bicycles, which currently make up 43 percent of its fleet, according to a city statement. The program plans to to increase the of the fleet as will the number of ebike docking stations.
Equity goals and accessibility goals achievable drove the grant-supported expansion plans, according to a statement on the city's website.
MetroBike use increased from fewer than 5,000 trips to 28,000 monthly trips between the program's 2019 inception to April of this year. Unsurprisingly, the service's popularity peaks in popularity during bg events; it 34,000 during the 2021 ACL Festival; 37,000 during 2022 South by Southwest; and 43,000 for the 2022 ACL Festival, according to the city.