McALLEN — Veronica Hernandez waited patiently Tuesday morning to be one of the first people to break-in one the city’s 80 new bicycles at the official launch of the new bike share program at Fireman’s Park.
The 36-year-old woman said she’s excited to start using the bikes for getting around and leisure activities throughout the week.
Hernandez, a Mission native who commutes into McAllen for work, said access to the bike stations allows her to avoid the struggle that comes with mounting her own bike to her car every time she wants to use her bike.
On Tuesday, city officials including Mayor Jim Darling, Commissioner Veronica Whitacre and transit director Mario Delgado were on hand for a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the bike share station at Fireman’s Park.
The launch, which was nearly a year in the making, began last December after the City Commission approved the bid of B-cycle — a company Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin uses. The total cost of the project came in at $336,801, according to city officials.
The program, the first of its kind in the Rio Grande Valley, features eight different stations with a total of 80 bikes that can be used by anyone with a debit or credit card.
Delgado said the success of the program will not be measured by any metric but instead by how many people use it.
“We’d like for as many people as possible to get interested and buy an annual membership or use it leisurely on a daily membership with a 24-hour membership. We’re going to put the word out and do some promotion so we can get as many people interested in using it,” Delgado said.
Delgado said he’s received a lot of feedback from people in the community who are eager to start using the bikes around town.
Commissioner Whitacre said the program is already a success in her eyes.
Whitacre said if they see a high demand for bikes there are plans to expand to more stations throughout the city to meet those needs.
Darling, who along with some other city officials rode into the park on one of the new bikes prior to the beginning of the ceremony, said he was excited to see families use the different stations throughout the city.
Four of the eight locations are located in downtown, which includes Archer Park, the downtown park and ride, the Broadway park and ride at Bicentennial Ave. and Austin Ave. and at La Placita Heritage Center at Main St. and Chicago Ave. The remaining four stations are located at Fireman’s Park, 2nd St. Hike and bike trails, the McAllen Convention Center and Palms Crossing.
Riders can opt for a 24-hour pass for $6, a week-long pass for $15, a month-long pass for $30 or a year-long pass for $65. User fees — for those who opt to not buy a membership — do not kick in until after the first hour, at which point every 30 minutes is an additional $3. As an example, if someone were to ride a bike for an hour and a half it would be the original $6 for the hour-long ride and an additional $3 for the 30 minutes they went over and so on.