“…and I shall go to Texas.”
My wife is attending a professional development seminar. While she learns the arcane alchemy that is professional meeting planning, I decided to take a short tour around San Antonio.
Walked a few blocks from the hotel to find the nearest B-Cycle station. A few pushes of a button, a swipe of the credit card and I’m the proud renter of a bike. I chose the 24 hour pass which gives–you guessed it–24 hours access to any bike in the system. Any ride of less than 30 minutes is free, with additional charges per half hour. There is a max charge of $35 per day, which is not a bad price for a bike rental.
Rode around the Tower of the Americas and then over to the Alamo. Put my bike in one of the stations there and walked around reacquainting myself with history and legend. Then a couple more pushed buttons, swipe the credit card to verify the 24 hour pass and another bike pops out. Over to Market Square.
The bikes are comfortable. A simple 3 speed hub, dynamo lights, a lock and a generous basket. I thought it would be heavy. Much lighter than I expected. Cruising around was easy and generated no more sweat than I would experienced walking around in this stupid Texas heat.
The stations are easily close enough that 30 minutes is more than enough to get from one to another. As the network expands it could be possible to do substantial traveling at a very low cost.
I was using my smart phone to locate stations until I noticed that the tourist signs had the B symbol with an arrow pointing to the nearest station.
As Austin gets ready to roll out a similar system, station location and wayfinding will be two critical factors in initial success and adoption by users. Can’t wait.