It's Earth Day across the country and in Fort Worth they're celebrating the one-year anniversary of a green initiative, the city's bike sharing program.
Fort Worth Bike Share Celebrates Successful First Year
Program Has Had More than 14,000 Users
Fort Worth's new bike sharing system is entering its second year with the goal of expanding earlier than expected. (Published Thursday, April 24, 2014)
Right now there are 300 bikes at 34 stations across the city. By the end of the year, the city will add another 11 stations, much earlier than expected.
The idea of checking out a bike to get to work or just for play seems to be a hit.
Kerry Wilson and his wife hit the trails on Tuesday courtesy of Fort Worth's Bike Sharing program.
"It's been a long time since we rode a bicycle, so a little winded today," Wilson joked. "We don't own our own bicycles and we've seen them down on 7th Street, so we just decided to have a nice day in the park, it's such a beautiful day."
These two first-timers are now among the thousands who've rented a bike for single day use. According to bike sharing, 13,797 people have rented bikes as 24-hour members, or one-time users. The number of annual users stands at 495. It's a number break down that wasn't necessarily expected.
"There's been far more recreational use than we thought there would be, but we still have a really good core group of annual members who are relying on the bikes to get to and from work everyday," said Kristen Camareno, executive director of Fort Worth Bike Sharing.
That is the goal of the system , complete the last mile or two of a person's commute by bike and not by car. Camareno hopes to double the number of annual users in the next year. That's after all users logged 29,042 trips and 102,589 total miles. That's 4,103,560 calories burned and 97,460 pounds of carbon offset, according to the bike sharing program.
The system is set to grow too this year, thanks to another federal grant.
"I've always had a goal to expand to 50 stations within three or four years, but with the second grant that we received last summer we're going to be able to expand to 45 stations this fall or winter," Camareno said.
That will include another 60 bikes on the streets and trails. Camareno says their biggest challenge is explaining how the system works and the price structure as well, but otherwise they're excited to see people like Kerry Wilson on their bikes.
That includes another 60 bikes on the streets and trails. There are still some hiccups explaining how it works and the price structure to some.
"Absolutely, we'll come back," Wilson said. "If we don't go and buy bikes just like these."
The bike sharing system is a non-profit. The program is dependent on grants, sponsorships, memberships and volunteers.
On Tuesday night, a small gathering to celebrate the first year took place at Shipping & Receiving Bar. The top mileage earners will have bicycles named in their honor. The top mileage rider since January 1st has recorded 434.94 miles.