B-cycle premiered its pilot program at UTSA this January and the numbers so far do not bode well for the bike-sharing program. As of April 2015, there have only been 65 total checkouts at their UTSA main-campus location. According to Daniel Treviño, Operations Manager at B-cycle, the university had been interested in working with the company for a while and requested the pilot program.
It's possible that the price tag to rent the bicycles is a little too steep for the students. B-cycle offers an option to rent for the day at $10 per bike or an annual fee of $80 for unlimited bike checkouts. That's 100 packets of ramen per day or 800 for the year when you're a broke college kid.
Another possibility for the low numbers could be that the bikes are located on campus, not near the parking lots where they could provide much needed relief from the long trek to class. Or it could be the utter lack of infrastructure in the area. Students may want to avoid the paralyzing fear that can come with feeling a car tailing you because there are no bike lanes on UTSA Boulevard.
The rollout of the program comes at an interesting time as the bidding process for the expansion of UTSA Boulevard is open and the contract for the city’s portion of the project should be awarded by this month. Construction is expected to start shortly afterwards according to TJ Mayes, Chief of Staff for Ron Nirenberg, the councilman who represents UTSA's District 8. Construction was initially expected to begin in January of this year but was delayed due to utility relocation issues. According to TxDOT’s website, the Spur 53 project will expand the street from a two-lane roadway to four-lane roadway with curb, storm sewer, and pedestrian and bicycle accommodations from Babcock to I-10.
The funding and responsibility for the project is being handled by two separate entities. The area from Edward Ximenes Boulevard to Babcock is being handled by the city of San Antonio and the stretch from Edward Ximenes to I-10 is being funded by the state of Texas (TxDOT). TJ explained that the two projects will be on separate timelines but the city will be tracking both projects so that they will be finished at roughly the same time in order to reduce traffic delays and inconvenience to the students. The new and improved UTSA Boulevard should be here by the end of 2016. Hopefully, B-cycle will stick around until then.