SA is learning the hard way that its bike-share can't pedal itself to the finish line without supportive, dedicated riders.
B-Cycle, a national nonprofit that operates a bike-share program in the Alamo City, is set to receive an infusion of more than $120,000 from the city through hotel and energy efficiency taxes.
The money is earmarked for hiring a new executive director and to prepare for a sustainable expansion of the program.
The news of a partnership between the city, the San Antonio Bike Share board of directors and B-Cycle comes a little more than a month after long-time and unpaid executive director Cindi Snell announced she was resigning, citing the lack of a corporate sponsor and city funding.
Snell, who didn't respond to a request for comment, praised the partnership in a press release issued by the city.
"We see this partnership with the City as a page in the next chapter of B-Cycle's success in San Antonio," she said.
Without the funding, B-Cycle may have been nearing the end of its story in the Alamo City.
District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg, who pushed to add stations at UTSA, said Snell's resignation created a sense of urgency about the program's future.
"I think that did result in us moving quickly on identifying resources at mid-year budget," Nirenberg told the San Antonio Current. "I don't think it was ever in question that B-Cycle would be a fundamental part of San Antonio or that we would have a choice to support B-Cycle this way."
Former Mayor Julián Castro helped jumpstart the program and lists it among his accomplishments. So it's no surprise that Mayor Ivy Taylor — who was appointed to succeed him — and Leticia Van de Putte, both of whom are locked in a June 13 runoff for the city's top office, want to make sure B-Cycle thrives.
Taylor said she met with the city manager in April to secure support for the funding that was approved a little more than two weeks ago.
"My staff met with the San Antonio Hotel and Lodging Association to explore additional funding opportunities to provide sustainable, long-term funding for B-Cycle," Taylor said.
Van de Putte said the nationally recognized program is popular with locals and visitors, but it was ignored for far too long.
"Unfortunately, lack of leadership within our city government might doom this wonderful program," Van de Putte said. "As mayor, I will champion B-Cycle and garner the much needed corporate and community partnerships that will ensure B-Cycle's continued success."
As of April, nearly 300,000 B-Cycle rides have been logged and there are 55 B-Cycle stations with 450 bicycles in downtown alone. On average, 195 B-Cycles are used each day.
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